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Wet weather dampens sales at John Lewis

John Lewis saw sales slide 1.3% to £47.1 million in the week to March 15, because of poor weather conditions and tough comparisons.

John Lewis commercial director Phil Hullah said: "Extremely bad weather, difficult year-on-year comparables and an attractive sporting calendar made for another testing week for the division with total sales falling just below last year's result. A bright start on Sunday and Monday proved misleading, with trade quickly softening as the week progressed and the remaining five days all delivering lower total sales than in 2007."

However online sales soared 30% for the week.

Performance in fashion remained mixed. Kidswear posted a strong growth, as did men's footwear, casual clothing and outerwear. But women's fashion was sluggish, coming up against strong pre-Mother's Day trade from last year.

Hullah added: "Looking ahead from here, market conditions are clearly difficult and Easter week looks likely to be another stretching one. However, product availability is good and we are very well set operationally."

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