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John Lewis reports mixed trading

Department store chain John Lewis has said changeable trading patterns pushed sales growth below recent trends last week.

Sales over the week to April 26th rose by 1.1% meaning that growth over the 13th week was up 3.2% against last year.

Patrick Lewis director of retail operations said the week started strongly but then fell back over the last two days and as a result, the final tally left the retailer confidently above the line for the week, but with a lower level of increase than of late.

"With Easter holidays now behind us, I was hoping that our comparisons against last year would settle down into a more regular pattern, but it was not to be! We started last week by securing a double-figure increase after two days, but then dipped below the line over the following two days." He said.

In the fashion category, accessories stood out as a strong performer with premium collections making double-figure increases, with the end of the week proving particularly strong.

The retailer said that handbags and jewellery were also busy, with a number of branches reporting good sales at the top end of the price range.

John Lewis' own brand stood out, and Lewis was confident that the product offer would continue to shine when the weather turns.

Swimwear departments are looking strong, said Lewis and more than ready for anticipated increased footfall.

In menswear the trend was reversed, with branded casualwear on top as recently introduced ranges find favour.

The retailer also unveiled its new store at Highcross Leicester this week. As part of Hammerson and Hermes £350 million Highcross scheme, the new four level John Lewis is part of the scheme due to open on the September 4th 2008.

Other retailers signed up to the scheme include Ghost, Hugo Boss and Reiss.

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