John Lewis sees another sales rise

JOHN Lewis has posted another week of sales growth with fashion sales up by more than a fifth.

The employee-owned firm – which is seen as a bellwether of the UK retail sector – said sales at its 28 department stores and one "at home" store increased 17.7 per cent to £55.1m in the week to 8 May.

Managing Director Andy Street said: "Week 14 proved a splendid week’s business ... Undoubtedly we were helped by cool weather on both the bank holiday weekend, and last Saturday; perfect for spring shopping.

"I suspect it's going to get tougher for us, but we are certainly very well placed against our competitors."

The sales rise was fuelled by a 21.8 per cent increase in sales of homewares and a 20.9 per cent rise in fashion sales.

Sales in the electricals and home technology category rose 6.9 per cent, stoked by demand for televisions ahead of the World Cup in South Africa.

Retailers are slowly emerging from a deep recession but are divided whether the recovery will continue, with some concerned the new government’s commitment to swiftly cut the public deficit will damage consumer confidence.