John Lewis gives rare boost to fashion sector with double-digit clothing sales

Helen Cahill
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Could this signal a surprise turnaround for the clothing sector? (Source: Getty)

John Lewis achieved double-digit growth in clothing sales last month, giving a rare boost to the struggling fashion sector.

Total sales for the week ended 22 July reached £79.8m at the department store, up 8.9 per cent year-on-year, with fashion sales jumping 15.5 per cent. Womenswear sales soared 34.5 per cent.

A John Lewis spokesperson said the uplift was in part to do with the popularity of new collections, which arrived in stores last week. The cooler weather also helped the sales of particular items; knitwear did well, and cashmere sales grew 30 per cent.

Homeware also performed strongly. Sales grew 11 per cent for the division, and furniture and flooring sales climbed 8.4 per cent.

Read more: Back in fashion: Jack Wills returns to profit

At Waitrose, sales fell 1.1 per cent. Total sales came to £129.4m for the week.

Ben Stimson, retail director at Waitrose, said the drop was due to "variable weather", and that foods which normally perform well in winter were some of the most popular products. Sales of prepared meals and soup were up by 14 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

Overall, the John Lewis Partnership's sales were up 2.5 per cent for the week, totalling £209.2m.

The rise in home and fashion sales comes after conditions for non-food retailers improved last month. Figures from the British Retail Consortium showed non-food sales grew 1.2 per cent in the three months to June, the best quarterly average since December.

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