John Lewis cashes in on weather and Comet’s fall

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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AUTUMNAL weather, the timing of the English half-term school holidays and the demise of Comet have played into the hands of department store chain John Lewis as it returned to double-digit growth.

The employee-owned retailer, frequently held up as a barometer for middle-class spending, yesterday reported a 17.9 per cent year-on-year jump in sales in the week to 3 November.

Online sales leapt by almost 46 per cent, contributing to overall takings of £84.9 million in week 14 of the partnership’s financial year.

All three Scottish stores posted sales gains, with Glasgow up by 6.1 per cent, Edinburgh by 5.1 per cent while Aberdeen was 1.3 per cent higher.

Andy Street, managing director, John Lewis, said: “A number of factors came together last week to give us a robust score. The later half-term across much of the country undoubtedly helped drive footfall into the shops, as did the distinctly autumnal weather.

“Beyond that, new product launches in technology, a competitor’s ‘extravaganza’, and the sad news of another’s likely demise undoubtedly combined to provide a lively end to the week.”

IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer said: “Consumers’ fortunes have improved overall recently, but they still face serious pressures.”