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Indian summer causes sales slump at John Lewis

John Lewis reported a tough week last week with fashion sales dropping 13% as the Indian summer kept customers out of the shops.

For the week to October 1 sales at the department store chain dropped by 7.9% to £57.47m with sales at every single branch dropping year on year.

Fashion sales particularly suffered in the heat. Lesley Ballantyne, director, operational development at John Lewis, said: “Clearly, customers were not in the mood to shop for autumnal clothing in fashions and inevitably trade was slower as a result.”

Handbags however recorded a 2% rise, which Ballantyne said proved that for some the appetite for handbag shopping cannot be dulled even in 80 degree heat.

Despite all the stores experiencing a loss Edinburgh, Sheffield and Peter Jones saw the smallest decreases dropping by 2.7%, 4.8% and 6.1% respectively. John Lewis said its store at Westfield Stratford continued to perform well.

But Ballantyne added: “As the temperature returns to autumnal norms we are well set to take advantage when customer footfall increases.”

Online sales still continued to rise but were ahead of last year by just 14% with many customers opting to enjoy the sunshine rather than shop.

Over the next few weeks the chain will have ongoing refurbishments in many of its branches and it will launch the pilot of its new EPOS system in Leicester.

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