Norwich store leads sales boost at John Lewis

Womenswear and tablet computers helped Norwich's John Lewis store lead the pack among the retailer's outlets, as sales grew by 3.6pc.

Announcing its interim results yesterday, the John Lewis Partnership, which also includes Waitrose, said gross sales at all its UK stores were up �181m to �1.6bn, a rise of 12pc, while operating profit increased by �29.8m to 45.6m, an increase of 188.6pc.

At Waitrose, sales rose 6.6pc to �2.8bn, an increase of �172.8m.

Across the John Lewis Partnership, pre-tax profits were �144.5m, an increase of �54.1m, of 59.8pc, with sales boosted by the Diamond Jubliee celebrations and the Olympics and Paralympics.

Argos also reported a return to sales growth as demand for iPads and Kindles offset declining interest in video games and MP3 players.

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Retailer NEXT, which has stores in Norwich and King's Lynn, reported a better-than-expected start to the year, with group revenue up 4.8pc at �16m, and profit 10.2pc, ahead of last year at �251m.

But it said that August and September sales had been disappointing during what had been an 'unusually quiet period' saying it remained cautious about the economic outlook which it described as overcast.

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Richard Marks, general manager at John Lewis in Norwich, said the store had enjoyed a strong year on the back of last year's �7m refurbishment, while the addition of an Olympics store in Norwich had also driven footfall.

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