John Lewis sales suffer in uncertain climate

John Lewis reported another sharp fall in UK department store sales today after consumer confidence was shaken by the ongoing economic turmoil.

Sales declined by 8.3% to £48.7m (€62.1m) in the week to last Saturday, following on from the 5.6% decline seen in the previous week.

Individual stores posted some big falls, with sales at Southampton and Bristol’s Cribbs Causeway down by almost a quarter on a year earlier.

Waitrose – the supermarket arm of the John Lewis Partnership – also struggled as weekly sales dropped 0.7% to £73.6m (€94m).

Dan Knowles, selling operations director for the department store business, said the weather also contributed to the difficult week.

He added: “A combination of unseasonably sunny, warm weather and a huge amount of coverage of the global economic situation added together to give a very tough trading week.

“Sales declined by 8.3% in what we know is a very difficult market – a market in which we continue to grow our share.”

John Lewis said fitted kitchens, large electricals and flooring – performed strongly as customers choose to improve their homes instead of moving.

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