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John Lewis continues to outperform rivals


The group said store sales rose 15.3 percent to £71.6 million in the week to 7 July

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John Lewis posted another double digit weekly sales rise for the week to 7 July, the employee-owner retailer said on Friday, adding further pain to rival Marks & Spencer.

Britain's biggest department store group - whose more affluent shoppers have been less affected by double dip - has so far been relatively unscathed by falling retail sales unlike its rivals.

The retailer, which has a bias to the south east of England, has set the pace in the sector this summer as the deluge of rain has driven footfall from the high street to the covered shopping malls where its stores are often located.

Wet and cold weather is also favourable for its key household goods business.

John Lewis said on Friday department store sales increased 15.3 percent year-on-year to £71.6 million in the week to 7 July.

"The continued miserable weather, coupled with the third week of a successful clearance (sale), saw customers heading to our shops for some retail therapy," said buying director Paula Nickolds.

Sales of electrical and home technology items jumped 34.1 percent, reflecting robust television sales ahead of the London Olympics, while homewares sales were up 8.9 percent, driven by demand for official Games merchandise. Fashion sales rose 9.4 percent.

The retailer has been outperforming the wider market, as improvements to product and service and new modern stores have chimed with consumers.

On Tuesday, Marks & Spencer, Britain's biggest clothing retailer, reported its biggest quarterly sales drop in 3-1/2 years, blaming months of rain that hammered womenswear sales.

John Lewis' sales are, however, flattered by the fact the group has more shops than last year and by higher prices because of inflation. Also electrical items tend to have relatively low profit margins.

Many retailers remain under pressure as consumers are squeezed by higher prices, muted wage growth and government austerity measures designed to cut record national debt.

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John Lewis continues to outperform rivals
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