Jun 29, 2012 07:15 AM EDT
John Lewis, Britain's biggest department store group, posted another strong rise in weekly sales, driven by strong demand for technology products and the start of its clearance sale.
The employee-owned retailer, which has a bias to the south east of England, said on Friday its sales increased 9.9 percent year-on-year to 76.12 million pounds ($118.03 million) in the week to June 23.
Sales of electricals and home technology items jumped 28.2 percent, fashion revenues rose 6.9 percent and homewares sales were up 1.6 percent.
"Our performance in electricals continues to delight," John Lewis' buying and brand director Peter Ruis said.
"Much of the strength in this area comes from customers continuing to buy into our new technology offer with our communication technology department delivering a 78.2 percent increase, powered by our largest-ever week on Apple and a 20 percent increase in e-reader sales as customers prepare for holidays."
The retailer has been outperforming the wider market as its generally more affluent customers have been less impacted by Britain's double dip recession, while improvements to product and service and new modern stores have chimed with consumers.
John Lewis' sales are, however, flattered by the fact the firm has more shops than last year and by higher prices because of inflation. Also electrical items tend to have relatively low profit margins.
"Management describes it as a fantastic performance," said Seymour Pierce analyst Kate Calvert.
"On-line also continues to perform strongly with sales up 36.1 percent with particularly strong demand for the special buy Nespresso Coffee Machine and 50 inch Panasonic television."
Many British retailers remain under pressure as consumers are squeezed by higher prices, muted wage growth and government austerity measures designed to cut record national debt.
However, on Thursday, Debenhams, Britain's No. 2 department store group, posted a surprise 3.1 percent rise in sales in the last 16 weeks.
Earlier this week an industry survey showed British retail sales rose at their fastest pace in 1-1/2 years in June as Britons splashed out for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
John Lewis also owns upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose. Here week to June 23 sales rose 1.8 percent to 107.5 million pounds.
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