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Timing of Easter helps John Lewis

John Lewis’ trading improved in the week to April 9, but the results were heavily influenced by the timing of Easter.

Sales were up 5.8%, or 7.3% including the higher rate of VAT, but the figures reflect an extra day’s trading as Easter Sunday fell in this week last year. Even so, only six branches managed a sales increase while 23 declined. John continued to perform strongly with sales up 36.3%.

Fashion was the strongest performing category, as womenswear benefited from the start of the wedding season and the warm weather boosted sales of summer ranges.

“Linen, sunglasses and swimwear were more than 40 per cent on last year,” John Lewis said.

The London stores again led the way, with Peter Jones up 21.1% and Oxford Street up 13.5%. Leicester, Cardiff and Bluewater all recorded double digit declines.

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