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John Lewis autumn ranges well received

Fashion sales at John Lewis fell 2.8% in the week to August 8 after a strong July was offset by the warmer August weather last weekend.

The department store said that demand for new autumn ranges in men’s, women’s and children’s wear was strong. Fashion outperformed the retailer’s other categories.

John Lewis reported a 5.3% drop in sales to £45.4m across the business, largely due to a weak Saturday.

Managing director Andy Street said: “The change in weather revealed that our scores in July overstated our progress, and it is still a challenge to match last year’s trade.”

Online sales at John Lewis Direct grew 18.3%.

Street added: “So, not the start to the half we hoped for, but I suspect the weekly comparisons this half are going to be hard to read.

“Last year we traded relatively well in August and September, but weakly when we faced the financial crisis of the autumn. We must, therefore, stay in touch with last year’s scores in the early weeks and then seize the opportunity October and November provide to record real progress.  

“For certain, with new products arriving rapidly, the shopkeeper’s current task is an exciting one.”

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