John Lewis outpacing its rivals as shoppers flock to its stores

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John Lewis, Britain’s biggest department store group, reported a double digit increase in weekly sales, soundly beating rivals such as Marks & Spencer.

John Lewis has set the pace this summer as the deluge of rain has driven footfall from the high street to the covered shopping malls where its stores are often located.

John Lewis said department store sales increased 15.3 per cent year-on-year to £71.6m in the week to July 7.

Buying director Paula Nickolds said: “The continued miserable weather, coupled with the third week of a successful Clearance (sale), saw customers heading to our shops for some retail therapy.”

Sales of electrical and home technology items jumped 34.1 per cent, reflecting robust television sales ahead of the London Olympics, while homewares sales were up 8.9 per cent, driven by demand for official Games merchandise. Economist Howard, Archer at IHS Global Insight, said: “It would be nice to think that the very decent John Lewis sales at the start of July is a sign that consumer spending has started off the third quarter well.

“However, the fact is that it has consistently been an out-performer in recent times.”

John Lewis also owns upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose. Here week to July 7 sales rose 6.1 per cent to £109.8m.

The firm said it sold 11 million strawberries and cream sales jumped 6.8 per cent on the back of Andy Murray’s run to the final of the Wimbledon tennis championship.

On Tuesday, M&S, reported its biggest quarterly sales drop in three and a half years.