Sales soar more than 17% at John Lewis

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John Lewis has reported a 17.2 per cent jump in sales for last week, although it noted that the result was flattered by the late arrival of half-term holidays for many schools across England.

The employee-owned retailer said online sales in the week to 23 February were up 20 per cent compared with the same period last year, despite the transition to a new website.

Sales at its Aberdeen branch jumped 15.7 per cent, while Glasgow was up 11.7 per cent and Edinburgh gained 7.8 per cent.

Simon Russell, director of retail operations development, said: “Mother’s Day and Easter are the key season’s focus for the next few weeks. We have some great products and are well set to continue our good start to 2013.”

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “John Lewis’ robust performance gives a lift to hopes that there will be a general pick-up in retail sales in February after a very poor performance in January, which was partly due to the snow.

“The worry for retailers – and the economy in general – is that consumers will become ever more careful in their spending as consumer price inflation moves back up and squeezes purchasing power.”