John Lewis hit by sales drop

John Lewis reported lower weekly sales yesterday, adding to evidence consumer spending has softened again.

The employee-owned business said department store sales fell 0.8 per cent to £55m in the week to May 28 and were down 3.0 per cent excluding VAT sales tax.

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The firm, which has been outperforming rivals for over a year, described the performance as “credible,” given tough comparative numbers in the same week last year.

“We had a very good week of weather against us last year and this year there was rain and even hail in parts of the UK. We also have tough comparisons in EHT (electrical and home technology) to contend with due to buoyant sales of TVs for the (2010) World Cup,” it said.