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John Lewis sales fall 5.6% but fashion bucks trend

Sales at department store John Lewis fell by 5.6% to £47.34 million over the week to September 20 as tough comparatives, the weather, and turmoil in the economic markets hit trade.

However, fashion was the retailer's strongest performing category with sales across the directive up 8%, as the latest John Lewis advertising campaign starring model Karen Elson drew in customers.

Only the retailer's Oxford Street store reported positive overall growth with sales at the rest of the 27-store chain down.

In fashion, men's branded casualwear performed well and girlswear was very busy, the retailer said. New footwear ranges helped the category increase double-figures, and there was strong demand for women's purple swing coats.

Director of retail operations Patrick Lewis said: "Having started steadily, customer flow dropped mid-week, and glorious sunshine across most of the country left us well below last year on Saturday. But over the month our sales increase was above 3 per cent, a very pleasing score in a tough market.

"We're now at the foothills of the climb into doubling our trade for Christmas. The market may be tough, but with exciting new product hitting the floor every day, and our commitment to merchandising and service, we are more than ready for it."

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