John Lewis store sales fall 6.7 percent

today Apr 9, 2009
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LONDON (Reuters) - John Lewis JLP.UL, the employee-owned group seen as a barometer of retail spending, said weekly sales at its department stores fell 6.7 percent from the same week last year, hit by the timing of Easter.

The group said on Thursday 9 April that sales at its 27 department stores was 45.4 million pounds in the week ended April 4.

"Last week saw the lull between Easter trading last year and this year," it said in a statement.

Fashion sales rose 1 percent, outperforming rivals, John Lewis said. However, sales of home-related products fell 9.2 percent, while those of electrical goods slumped 12.1 percent.

Many retailers are struggling as shoppers curb spending amid rising unemployment, sliding house prices and fears of a long and deep recession.

Weekly sales at John Lewis's upmarket Waitrose food chain jumped 5.8 percent to 79.74 million pounds, helped by special offers such as a third off the price of roasting joints and a 33 percent rise in sales of Easter confectionery.

(Reporting by Mark Potter, editing by Will Waterman)

($1=.6789 Pound)

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