John Lewis reported another fall in sales as it comes up against tough comparatives.
Sales slid 4.4 per cent to£45.6 million in the week to June 14.
Only three stores delivered year-on-year growth – Oxford Street, Edinburgh and Aberdeen – while its out-of-town shopping centre stores performed worst.
The figures follow last week’s positive sales performance, which was the only week out of the past five in which growth was recorded.
John Lewis head of selling development Barry Matheson said it was “no surprise” to record a sales fall, because the retailer was up against one of its best week’s last year as a comparative.
He said the “buying highlights” came from its fashion division, but that the electricals and home technology department faced “stiff comparisons”.
He said: “Given the almost daily reports of doom and gloom in the economy and housing market, it is perhaps no surprise that our customers appear to be taking a more cautious approach, particularly to major purchases.”
Shore Capital analyst John Stevenson said John Lewis’ reference to more cautious customers, particularly with respect to larger ticket purchases, provides “further woes” for retailers such as DSGi, ScS and Land of Leather and “arguably” Kingfisher.
Sales at John Lewis’s grocery division, Waitrose, increased 7.3 per cent to£81 million, helped by the sunny weather.
Total group sales at the John Lewis Partnership during the week were up 2.8 per cent to£123.6 million.