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John Lewis sales slip

John Lewis saw sales fall for the fifth time in six weeks with a drop of 4.4% to £45.6m for the week to June 14.

However fashion sales once again outperformed, showing growth of 3% for the period. Girlswear and men's branded casualwear scored "eye-watering" increases.

John Lewis blamed customer concern around last weeks' fuel strikes on top of tough comparatives for the decline. Slowing spend on big ticket itesm like furniture and electricals also contributed to the fall.

John Lewis head of selling development Barry Matheson said: "Saturday in particular was a challenge with a combination of fine weather and concern about the fuel drivers' strike combining to drive down footfall in the regional shopping centre branches."

John Lewis' Oxford Street London, Edinburgh and Abderdeen branches were the only stores in positive territory. Among the worst performers in the portfolio were Peterborough, High Wycombe and Southampton.

Matheson concluded: "Given the almost daily reports of doom and gloom in the economy and housing market, it is perhaps no surprise that our customers appear to be taking a more cautious approach, particularly to major purchases. However, we are excelling in a number of key areas of our assortment and we can continue to do that if we focus on being simply better across the business at doing the things that are really important to maintaining customers' trust in us."

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