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John Lewis sales soar 27.4%

John Lewis had a bumper start to its Clearance as sales soared 27.4% for the week to January 3.

Fashion sales at John Lewis were up 34.4% over the period. Head of selling development Barry Matheson said that the Clearance had boosted men's, kids' and women's wear.

"They all achieved excellent sell-through rates and a significant sales increase on last year," he said. "Customers have clearly been attracted by our commitment to being Never Knowingly Undersold, even during competitors' sales."

Stores with double-digit sales over the period were Cambridge, up more than 40%, with Reading, Welwyn, Newcastle and Knight & Lee stores showing sales rises 30%.

John Lewis Direct produced its fourth highest week and broke last year's Clearance performance.

Overall Monday, Tuesday and Friday were particularly strong days for John Lewis. Matheson said: "Was it the fall of the calendar? Was it the weather? Was it driven by constant media reports of the bargains to be had? It is difficult to tell but what we know for sure is that we delivered a truly inspirational result last week with sales 27 per cent ahead of last year."

Matheson added that the performance for the five weeks to January 3, which saw sales rise 2.4%, suggested that John Lewis gained market share over Christmas.

Matheson added: "What these results also tell us, however, is that conditions are likely to be difficult for the entire retail trade in the months ahead."

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