John Lewis sales figures reveal north-south divide

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Department store group John Lewis has unveiled a rise in sales for last week, but many of its stores in the south of England struggled to compete against last year’s numbers, when trading was boosted by the London Olympics.

The employee-owned retailer said sales in the week to 3 August grew 4.4 per cent to £66.1m, boosted by strong demand for furniture and electrical gadgets.

Among the firm’s three Scottish stores, Aberdeen was the strongest performer, with sales up 7.6 per cent on last year, followed by Edinburgh at 7 per cent, while Glasgow eked out growth of 2.9 per cent.

However, sales at its Stratford City branch, next to the Olympic Village, plunged 43.4 per cent year-on-year.

Mark Lewis, the group’s online director, said: “Compared to last year, the trade in many of our more northern shops was particularly encouraging, with a number showing strong double-digit growth, while the comparables of London 2012-related categories gave a number of our more southern shops harder numbers to beat.”