John Lewis sales break £100m mark

John Lewis store, formerly Bonds. Picture: Denise Bradley

John Lewis store, formerly Bonds. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Department store John Lewis has notched up weekly sales of more than £100m for the first time this year, spurring hopes that shoppers are returning to stores after a gloomy autumn for the retail sector.

The £101.4 million takings are a 10.7pc increase on the same period last year, while online sales were up 23.7pc, the company said.

The Office for National Statistics says consumers spent less in October, with sales volumes down by 0.7pc, adding to pressure on retailers to deliver a bumper festive performance.

John Lewis said the onset of colder weather helped it over the week ending on Saturday night, with boots, slippers, hot water bottles and ear muffs among the best sellers.

Shoppers were also seeking alternatives to the chocolate Advent calendar, with a Lego version proving popular, the retailer said.

There was a large boost for festive products such as a reindeer baby sleep suit and frosted pine-cone tree decorations.

Retail director Andrew Murphy said there was a "strong uplift in sales" as customers start to plan for Christmas, adding that its recently launched television advert resulted in a "real festive buzz".

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Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said: "This is a very encouraging performance that lifts hopes that consumers are starting to step up their spending for Christmas having apparently taken a breather in their expenditure in October following robust spending over the summer."