John Lewis set to beat forecasts

John Lewis yesterday said it would beat its four per cent sales growth forecasts for the current half-year, declaring its core, middle-income shoppers will be less hurt by the government’s spending review than first feared. Retail director Andrew Murphy said the balance between spending cuts and tax rises meant his customers could still afford to shop. Half-year sales could even beat six per cent, he added. “I wouldn’t entirely rule out an upside on that. Whatever UK retail Plc comes out with, we will come out right at the top end of that,” Murphy said. “We’re going to outperform the market, probably outperform some of our competitors by some distance.” Murphy said John Lewis’ past experience was that tax rises had more impact in the short term than government spending cuts.