October 31, 2017 / 11:31 AM / in a year

UPDATE 1-UK retailer John Lewis's sales fall for fifth straight week

    * Department store sales down 4 pct in week to Oct. 28
    * Dip reflects tough comparative numbers, mild weather
    * Bank of England expected to raise rates on Thursday

 (Adds detail)
    LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - British department store John
Lewis                     on Tuesday reported a fifth straight
fall in weekly sales, adding to concerns that consumer demand is
softening just as the central bank contemplates whether to
increase interest rates.
    Economists polled by Reuters expect the Bank of England will
raise rates this Thursday for the first time in more than 10
years. BOE/INT
    John Lewis is the only major British retailer to publish
weekly sales data, providing the most up-to-date snapshot of
shopping trends.
    The employee owned retailer said department store sales fell
4.0 percent year on year in the week to Oct. 28.
    It said fashion sales were 1.9 percent lower, while homeware
sales were down 2.0 percent and sales in the electrical and home
technology category slumped 7 percent.
    The dip in John Lewis' October trade is partly explained by
tough comparative numbers a year ago when sales were boosted by
colder weather. October this year has been unseasonably warm,
hindering sales of autumn and winter ranges.
    Earlier this month John Lewis's managing director Paula
Nickolds said she believed the firm was outperforming the wider
market by a couple of percentage points.
    She said official retail sales data for October would look
"pretty grim". British retail sales had slowed unexpectedly
sharply in September.
    Data published by the Confederation of British Industry last
week showed British retail sales plummeted in October at the
fastest pace since early 2009 when the country was last in
    Another survey published on Tuesday showed British consumers
turned slightly more gloomy in October as they remained
pessimistic about the state of the economy but were continuing
to splash out on major purchases.
    John Lewis Partnership data for week to Oct. 28:
                  Week to Oct.    13 weeks to Oct. 28
 Total sales      -0.7 pct        1.7 pct
 Dept stores      -4.0 pct        1.5 pct
 Food stores      2.0 pct         1.9 pct
 ($1 = 0.7567 pounds)

 (Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Greg Mahlich)
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