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By
Reuters
Published
Apr 26, 2013
Reading time
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John Lewis sales dip as Britons opt for sunshine

By
Reuters
Published
Apr 26, 2013

LONDON - Department store group, John Lewis, said its sales edged lower last week as Britons chose to enjoy some rare sunshine rather than shop.

The employee-owned group, which has been outperforming Britain's broader retail sector for about two years, said on Friday its department store sales fell 0.1 percent year-on-year to 61.9 million pounds ($95.6 million) in the week to April 20.

"Fashion sales benefited from the change in weather. However, the first sunshine of spring kept a number of customers in their gardens rather than out shopping," the firm said.

Though fashion sales rose 3.9 percent, sales in the home category fell 2.9 percent and were down 0.7 percent in electricals and home technology.

Analysts pointed to a tough comparative performance in the same week last year, when TV sales were booming because of the "Digital Switch-Over" in London, while wet spring weather was helpful for homewares trade.

Though Britain has avoided a "triple dip" recession, many retailers are finding the going tough as consumers fret over job security, a squeeze on incomes and government cuts.

John Lewis has consistently bucked the gloom and its department store sales are up 10.8 percent in the first 12 weeks of its 2013-14 year.

"Following on from a lacklustre CBI distributive trades survey for April released earlier this week, the recent softer trend in John Lewis' sales fans concern that consumers may be reining in their spending," said IHS Global Insight chief economist Howard Archer.

John Lewis also owns upmarket supermarket Waitrose. Its weekly sales rose 7.3 percent to 115 million pounds, reinforcing its position as one of Britain's fastest growing grocers.

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