John Lewis sales growth slows

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Department store group John Lewis today said its weekly sales growth had slowed, with two of its three Scottish branches suffering a drop in business.

The employee-owned retailer said year-on-year sales were up 7.6 per cent in the week to 17 November, but that was down from the 11.4 per cent surge reported for the previous week.

In Aberdeen, sales were 3.1 per cent higher than a year ago, but its Glasgow stores saw sales dip 0.9 per cent, while Edinburgh was down 1.6 per cent.

John Lewis said electricals and home technology products continued to lead the way, with sales up 22.2 per cent on last year.

It added: “There was exceptional growth in our large electrical category, with sales 26.7 per cent up on the previous year as we continue to gain market share.”

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, described today’s figures as “solid if unspectacular”.

He said: “Given that John Lewis has been very much an outperformer in the retail sector for an extended period, and the reality that its customers have typically been better placed to withstand the pressures on consumers, the fact that it is currently seeing relatively limited underlying sales growth as Christmas shopping really gets underway highlights the difficult outlook that retailers generally face over the crucial festive period.”