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Fashion sales fall at John Lewis as market 'challenging'

Fashion sales at John Lewis fell 1% during the week to May 14 with kidswear the strongest performing category as parents bought last minute back to school items online.

Sales of kidswear rose 22% during the week, with kid’s footwear up 18% year-on-year.

Sales at johnlewis.com grew 18%. Beach towels were among the categories leading the performance. Click & Collect created 63% more sales than last year.

Peter Jones in London, and John Lewis’s shops in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow were the only stores to record sales rises.

Total sales growth at the department store chain were flat during the week, when sales came in at £53.4m.

The 0.1% rise in the period was described as “creditable” but John Lewis retail director Andrew Murphy said conditions were tough.

Murphy said: “Emerging from a long period where true like-for-like comparisons have been virtually impossible to determine, we are confronted by an undoubtedly challenging retail market.

“However, our operational focus should be less on high-level data and economic prophecies than on the things we can directly influence and control, namely: the provision of a great assortment and delivery of exceptional customer service.

“If we focus on these and other things that we know represent great retailing, then we will automatically make our financial objectives more achievable and sustain our well-established outperformance of our competitors through another year.”

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