Lewis sees shoppers rush to beat VAT rise

Department store chain John Lewis yesterday reported a surge in sales as shoppers rushed to buy household appliances and furniture ahead of last week's VAT hike.

The company recorded sales of 74.6m across its department stores in the week to January 8 – an increase of nearly 39 per cent compared to the same week last year.

John Lewis said consumers took advantage of the extra bank holiday on January 3, the day before the Government raised VAT.

Last week, John Lewis showed it had shrugged off the severe weather as it posted a 7.6 per cent hike in festive sales.