Clearance sale boosts John Lewis

LONDON (Reuters) - Weekly sales at John Lewis JLP.UL department stores surged 5.9 percent compared with the same period last year, reversing four weeks of falls as cash-strapped shoppers flocked to its summer clearance sale.

The employee-owned firm, viewed as a bellwether of retail spending, said on Friday sales at its upmarket Waitrose supermarkets rose 1.2 percent in the week ended July 12, giving a total increase in weekly sales for the group of 3.2 percent.

"A super result for the second week of clearance ... and very strong double-digit growth over the two years as well," John Lewis said in a statement.

Department store sales were up 13.3 percent compared with the same week two years ago.

Many retailers are struggling amid signs debt-laden shoppers are cutting back on spending amid rising food, fuel and mortgage costs.

John Lewis said department store sales in the 24 weeks to July 12 were up 0.8 percent compared with the same time last year.

In the latest week, fashion sales rose 13.9 percent, with electricals and home technology goods up 3.8 percent and homewares up 0.1 percent.

(Reporting by Mark Potter; Editing by Quentin Bryar)

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