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John Lewis sales down 0.7%

John Lewis sales fell by 0.7% to £46.1million over the week the May 16, with varied weather across the country serving up both challenges and opportunities for the department store.

Heaving discounting at high street competitors, including House of Fraser and Debenhams, boosted footfall over the week. John Lewis price matched the discounting as part of its “Never Knowingly Undersold” policy.

John Lewis’ fashion sales were up 1.9% over the week.

John Lewis said that comparisons against last year were difficult because of the May 2008 heatwave.

The best performing stores were Knight & Lee in Southsea and its Trafford Centre branch in Manchester with sales up 9.3% and 10.6% respectively.

John Lewis director of selling operations region B David Barford said: “As we look forward, the next few weeks should provide significant opportunity. The weather last year took a turn for the worse, so outstanding shopkeeping, strong promotions of high summer assortments and clear communication of value to our customers supported by good customer service should provide the keys to success.”

John Lewis will be the subject of a BBC2 documentary later this year.

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