Retailer John Lewis posts record Christmas sales

LONDON Wed Jan 2, 2013 10:56am GMT

Shoppers pass in front of John Lewis department store in Oxford Street in central London, January 4, 2012. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

Shoppers pass in front of John Lewis department store in Oxford Street in central London, January 4, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly

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LONDON (Reuters) - John Lewis said on Wednesday it had posted a 14.8 percent rise in sales in the run-up to Christmas and the first days of its clearance, helped by demand for technology and a leap in online offerings.

Britain's biggest department stores group reported sales of 684.8 million pounds for the five weeks to December 29, including a record take of 31.7 million pounds for the first day of its sales in stores on December 27. Like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of new stores, rose 13 percent.

John Lewis has traditionally outperformed its high-street rivals in recent years due to its strong online offering, new modern stores and more affluent customer base.

Online sales for the five weeks rose 44.3 percent on a year ago, and now accounted for a quarter of the total John Lewis business, the employee-owned group said on Wednesday.

Electrical and home technology sales were 30.9 per cent up, it said, while fashion and beauty increased 10.4 percent.

Managing director Andy Street said: "I am delighted that John Lewis has delivered record breaking sales figures over the Christmas period and the first five days of clearance.

"In an economic climate which continues to be volatile, to have achieved these results is testimony to the strength of the John Lewis brand and the commitment of all our partners to give outstanding service."

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton)

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