John Lewis weekly department store sales down 2 pct

today Apr 3, 2009
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LONDON, April 3 (Reuters) - John Lewis Partnership [JLP.UL], the employee-owned group seen as a barometer of British retail spending, on Friday April 3 reported a 2.0 percent fall in weekly sales at its department stores. The group, which runs 27 department stores in the UK, said week to March 28 sales in the division were 47.6 million pounds ($69.79 million).

"Sunday Stroll" Spring 2009, John Lewis

John Lewis said the improvement on the previous week's 12.6 percent fall reflected more helpful weather, the introduction of new product and a fashion advertising campaign.

"The fall of Easter and Mother's Day this year did also have a positive impact, and we were helped by a competitor's promotional activity driving footfall onto the high street and into our branches."

Fashion sales increased 13.1 percent, partly offsetting a 13.9 percent fall in the electricals and home technology category and a 4.4 percent decline in homewares.

Many UK retailers have been struggling as indebted consumers rein in spending amid rising unemployment, falling house prices and fears of a long and deep recession.

Sales at John Lewis' chain of 200 Waitrose supermarkets increased 16.7 percent to 80.8 million pounds.

The sharp rise reflected the fact that this week in 2008 was just after Easter, a traditionally quiet shopping time. ($1=.6820 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Mike Nesbit)

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