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Fashion sales up 2.8% last week as John Lewis reports "impressive" first half year performance

Sales of sportswear in the run up to the Olympics helped fashion sales at John Lewis to rise 2.8% in the week to July 28 as the department store retailer reported an “impressive” first half year of trading.

The retailer also said that sales of menswear were strong in what it described as a “softer performance” for overall sales in the final week prior to the 2012 Games.

John Lewis reported a 6.2% uplift in sales across all departments as the spell of hot weather and the opening of the Olympics kept shoppers away in the last week of the first half of its financial year.

Overall sales for the first half of this year, the 26 weeks to July 28, were described as “hugely encouraging”, at 12.9% as the retailer “outperformed a slow market”.

All three buying directorates are said to have succeeded in their respective markets with fashion sales up by 7% for the half, despite the unseasonal spell of wet weather.

Nursery and babywear were said to be the winners for fashion during the period with accessories also performing strongly for the department store retailer.

Online sales in the first half were described as “trailblazing”, up 40% compared to the same period last year with all product categories “thriving”.

“Most encouraging is the increase in our rate of ‘conversion’, testament to our operation,” said John Lewis managing director Andy Street.

“We go into the second half with confidence provided by strong momentum. We’re on course to sell huge quantities of London 2012 merchandise this week, and will I’m sure benefit indirectly from our small part in The Games; a remarkable achievement for our country.”

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