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Jan 22, 2010
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John Lewis sales jump as temperatures rise

By
Reuters
Published
Jan 22, 2010

LONDON (Reuters) - Retail bellwether John Lewis JLP.UL posted a sharp rise in sales as the nation emerged from a period of severe winter weather.

John Lewis

The employee-owned firm said sales at its 28 department stores and one John Lewis at home store increased 11.1 percent to 53.6 million pounds in the week to January 16 compared to the same week last year.

"Snow influenced, but did not dominate, our sales this week. Once the temperature began to rise so too did our trade, with pent-up customer demand building from midweek and culminating in a great day's trade on Saturday (23 January)," said Andrew Murphy, director of operational development.

The outcome was driven by a 19 percent jump in fashion sales and a 15.4 percent rise in the home category. Electricals and home technology sales increased 2.2 percent.

John Lewis reported a stellar Christmas but its department store sales fell in the week to January 9 as Britons battled heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures.

"The pick up in their sales as weather conditions eased and reports of "pent-up consumer demand" reinforces belief that the overall impact of the bad weather on consumer spending should be limited with much of the lost trade being recouped," said Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight.

John Lewis also owns the 222-store Waitrose supermarket chain.

Week to January 16 sales here increased 16.6 percent to 86.7 million pounds, underscoring Waitrose's current position as the UK's fastest growing grocer.

Waitrose noted that with warnings of further snow, demand for frozen food rocketed, with sales of frozen pies and pizza up 51 percent and 38 percent respectively.

(Reporting by James Davey, editing by Rhys Jones)

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