December 20, 2016 / 11:14 AM / 8 months ago

John Lewis weekly department store sales up 0.4 percent

Pedestrians walk past a John Lewis store on Oxford Street in central London December 15, 2013.Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) - John Lewis [JLP.UL] [JLPLC.UL], Britain's biggest department store chain, said its sales rose 0.4 percent year-on-year in the week to Dec. 17 as shoppers geared-up for Christmas.

The employee-owned firm said sales totalled 172.5 million pounds, noting the extra time created by Christmas Day falling on a Sunday this year means the big shopping days before Christmas are likely to be in the current week.

John Lewis is the only major British retailer to publish weekly sales data, providing the most up-to-date snapshot of festive shopping trends.

It said fashion sales were up 2.6 percent year-on-year. However, electricals and technology sales were down 0.6 percent and homeware sales were down 1.3 percent.

British retail sales growth has been robust up to now, despite a sharp fall in sterling after Britain voted to leave the European Union in June. However, the Bank of England has warned the weaker currency will increasingly feed through into higher prices next year, contributing to slower economic growth.

John Lewis warned in July that the currency moves could potentially become a major issue for the firm in 2017.

John Lewis also owns upmarket grocer Waitrose. Its weekly sales fell 1.7 percent to 164.4 million pounds.

"The week finished with seven full trading days until Christmas compared to only five last year - so many customers will be holding off making purchases for the big day until later," it said.

Compiled by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young

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