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By
Reuters
Published
Aug 19, 2011
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UK riots can't stop John Lewis sales rise

By
Reuters
Published
Aug 19, 2011

August 19 - Britain's biggest department store chain John Lewis said revenue rose last week even though the UK saw widespread looting and rioting, with its middle class customers switching to Internet shopping.

John Lewis
The John Lewis department store on Oxford Street. - photo: corbis

The employee-owned business said on Friday sales at its department stores increased 2.9 percent to 52.9 million pounds ($87.1 million) in the week to August 13.

Sales excluding VAT sales tax increased 1.3 percent.

"John Lewis online managed to pick up the customers that couldn't or didn't get to our shops," said the firm.

"So considering the events of last week on our streets and in the financial markets it was a solid performance."

John Lewis, which has been outperforming competitors for over a year, had one store, in Croydon, south London, broken into during the rioting.

British consumers are grappling with rising prices, subdued wage growth, a lack of credit, job insecurity, a stagnant housing market, government austerity measures and fears of eventual interest rate rises.

British retail sales barely grew in July, data showed on Thursday and analysts fear last week's rioting could further damage sentiment and heighten the risks to the UK's already fragile economic recovery.

John Lewis also owns the Waitrose supermarket chain. Here week to August 13 sales increased 8.4 percent to 95.9 million pounds, boosted by strong fish sales.

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Julie Crust)

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