22 July 2005, 12:09  John Lewis week to July 16 dept store sales down 8.3 pct

John Lewis Partnership said sales at its 27 UK department stores fell 8.3 pct to 41.9 mln stg in the week to July 16 as the earlier start of the summer clearance Sale continued to distort the numbers. Sales at the group's chain of 167 Waitrose supermarkets increased 22.9 pct to 66 mln stg, benefiting from the hot weather and "a little Harry Potter magic". Like-for-like sales were up over 10 pct. For the 24 weeks to July 16 department store sales were down 1.7 pct, Waitrose sales were up 18.8 pct and total sales were up 9.5 pct.

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