John Lewis sales boost shows confidence is back

Bellwether retailer John Lewis provided fresh signs of confidence seeping back into the high street by&nbsp; reporting a 17.1 per cent rise in sales last week compared to last year.<br /><br />And the group said that the past week&rsquo;s trading is also &pound;500,000 up on 2007, pre-credit crunch, when shoppers spent &pound;71.98 on average each.<br /><br />John Lewis reported a substantial lift in sales of beds and other so-called &ldquo;big ticket&rdquo; items which have previously suffered a slowdown as consumers cut back pricey purchases during the downturn.<br /><br />Director of operational development Andrew Murphy said that the sales figures showed that consumers had a bit more confidence and were determined to enjoy Christmas. <br /><br />Murphy told City A.M. that he did not expect to see the same level of wide-spread discounting as last year before on the high-street, as shops were more cautious about stock levels and confidence had improved.