Tough times for John Lewis as sales decline

Picture: Jon Savage
Picture: Jon Savage
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DEPARTMENT store chain John Lewis has blamed changeable weather and tough comparisons with last year after reporting a decline in weekly sales.

The employee-owned retailer said its branches faced a “tough” trading environment, with sales in the week ending 15 August coming in 1.9 per cent lower than a year ago.

Retail director Andrew Murphy said: “When assessing our early August sales, we should keep in mind that the back to school period and seasonal build to the bank holiday weekend are running one week later this year compared to last.”

Among the partnership’s three Scottish stores, Glasgow was the worst performer with a 14.5 per cent fall in takings compared with last year. In Aberdeen, sales were down 13.4 per cent, while its Edinburgh branch fell 7.2 per cent.

However, Murphy said the retailer’s website fared better, with online sales up 9.4 per cent.

The group’s upmarket grocery business, Waitrose, also posted gains, with sales of almonds doubling after The Great British Bake Off returned to television screens, and Pimm’s up 165 per cent despite the unreliable summer weather.

Overall sales at Waitrose during the week were up 3.1 per cent on last year. The supermarket has seven stores north of the Border, with the most recent addition, in Milngavie, having opened its doors in June.