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John Lewis grabs fashion market share

John Lewis has grown market share across all divisions within its fashion arm, managing director Andy Street has said.

Although fashion was not the strongest division in the half year to July 28 – that honour went to electrical and home technology, which saw sales rise 31%  – fashion saw solid 7.2% growth.

The department store saw “similarly paced” growth of 6% across menswear, womenswear and kidswear, with beauty outpacing that at around 9%.

Street told Drapers all three departments had “run ahead of the wider market”. The BRC’s most recent figures show a 1.6% growth in non-food sales between June and August.

Two long term strategies had underpinned this growth – “sticking to our principles” of its ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ guarantee and investment in multichannel development.

These “dwarfed” the impact of singular events such as the Jubilee and the run up to the Olympics, which boosted trade, compared with last year’s riots and VAT increase.

Street said: “The story in fashion across both menswear and womenswear is three-pronged. Firstly it’s about brands, which we continue to refresh all the time. Secondly it’s about designer collaborations. And thirdly of course it’s our own brand.

“It’s about all those three equally, and we have dynamism in each.”

John Lewis is looking to continue growing market share in areas of strength – such as nursery – as well as build to an “average market share” for less dominant parts of the business such as lingerie.

Although chairman Charlie Mayfield warned profit growth would slow slightly in the second half across the John Lewis Partnership as a whole, Streets was bullish about sales for the department store.

“In fashion, we have seen a quickening of pace in the first six weeks of this half to about 11%. Alice Temperley has just launched and the initial reaction has been truly outstanding so there is no reason to believe that we will achieve anything but a better score in the second half to the first.”

He predicted the second half of 2012 would be up 7% on last year. “Our rate of profit increase will not be as dramatic, but we are expecting our sales to be extremely good against the market, and in particular, that fashion will quicken,” Streets said.

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