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By
Reuters
Published
Dec 20, 2010
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John Lewis weekly sales up 7 % despite freeze

By
Reuters
Published
Dec 20, 2010

Dec 19 - British retailer John Lewis said sales at its department stores in the week to Saturday were 7 percent up on a year ago, although they dipped slightly from the previous week's record as snow kept some shoppers at home.

John Lewis
John Lewis in Tunbridge Wells, England

The retailer said sales on Saturday were down just over 10 percent on the same trading day a year ago, after one-third of its 32 stores were badly hit by the blizzard conditions in parts of the UK.

Shoppers, however, were back out in force on Sunday, retail operations director Andrew Murphy told Reuters.

"We are expecting a really strong day," he said. "The majority of what we lost yesterday, we think we will take it back over the next three or four days."

The group's Waitrose supermarkets were also hit by the weather, with Saturday's sales down 11 percent, although it said shoppers had heeded warnings and stocked up ahead of the big freeze, resulting in its busiest Tuesday and Wednesday of the year.

John Lewis, which operates 32 shops across the UK, said its department store sales for the week were 120.3 million pounds ($188 million), the second time sales had exceeded 120 million pounds in its history. Sales in the week to Saturday Dec. 11 were 121.03 million pounds.

Sales at its 241 Waitrose stores were 131 million pounds, 7 percent higher than a year ago.

Waitrose MD Mark Price said: "From Monday onwards customers took the weather forecast seriously and brought forward their shopping to earlier in the week.

"Despite the arctic conditions, customers are clearly determined to have a good Christmas and sales in premium quality are very strong with people trading up on all types of seasonal specialities."

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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