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John Lewis blames clearance for fashion sales dip

Fashion sales at John Lewis fell 16% year-on-year last week, with sunny weather and a later start to clearance blamed for the decline.

Overall sales for the week ending June 21 were £68m, down 16.7% year-on-year. However, sales for the year to date are up 8% on the same time last year.

Online director Mark Lewis said the week was “all about clearance,” noting it started online on Wednesday evening (June 25) and in stores on Thursday – a week later than in 2013.

“The shift in our trading calendar, combined with warm sunny weather, gave a challenging context for trade versus last year,” he added.

However women’s accessories performed well, as did schoolwear, which grew 32% on last year.

John Lewis also announced this morning that Margaret Casely-Hayford, director of legal services and company secretary, will leave at the end of the month to take up the position of chair at charity Action Aid UK.

A permanent successor is being recruited and Alan Buchanan, who was most recently company secretary for healthcare group Bupa, will act as interim replacement from August 1.

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