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Price-matching fuels John Lewis' fashion sales

Promotional activity fuelled fashion sales at John Lewis last week as the retailer price matched its competitors - but clothign was outperformed by the wider business.

Fashion sales rose 3.8% in the week to June 1 as the chain price-matched House of Fraser’s Sale, with menswear and women’s accessories the highlights.

Total sales across the department store chain rose 8.4%.

The retailer said a number of factors made it difficult to draw clear comparisons as the bank holiday was a week earlier than last year, when it was delayed due to the Jubilee.

Barry Matheson, director of retail services, said the weather was also a factor with a cool, damp half-term week providing “ideal shopping conditions”.

Matheson said: “We were price matching against a competitor for four days compared with two days last year which gave us an advantage into the weekend. Taking all that into account I think we can be cautiously satisfied with our performance.”

Online sales rose 17.2% as the bricks and mortar stores were influenced by the shift in bank holidays, which in particular benefited John Lewis’ homeware stores.

For the full-line shops the strongest trade was across the Midlands and North with Milton Keynes leading the way posting a 16.7% rise. Leicester was close behind with a 16.5% increase and Glasgow and Trafford both delivered around the 13% mark, while Solihull, Liverpool and Cribbs Causeway were all grouped around 11%.

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