Up-to-date coverage of the latest events in UK retail.

John Lewis weekly sales fall

John Lewis & Partners total sales fell 5.8% in the week to April 9, as the retailer continued to annualise sales due to the earlier fall of Easter last year. A 16.6% fall in electricals and home technology sales drove the decline, which also reflected strong sales in the comparable week last year due to Easter promotions.

Sales of beauty, wellbeing and leisure products saw a 14.3% uptick, while fashion sales increased by 4.3% and women’s accessories sales rose 5.7%.

Grocery stablemate Waitrose & Partners saw total sales excluding fuel surge 17.4% compared to the same week in 2018, although comparisons were distorted due to the fall of Easter.

Debenhams on the brink as Sports Direct revises proposal

Debenhams lenders are expected to take control of the department store group after conditions for further funding were not met and no deal was struck with potential buyer Sports Direct.

Retail sales fall in March

Like-for-like sales fell by 1.1% in March compared to the same period in 2018, when they had registered a 1.4% uplift year on year.

Total retail sales for the month fell by 0.5%, against an increase of 2.3% in March 2018. This figure was below both the three-month and 12-month average increases of 0.6% and 0.9% respectively.

New Look to abandon in-store menswear offer

New Look is to stop selling menswear in its stores and will only offer the category online from this autumn.

Sosandar posts sales rise

Online womenswear specialist Sosandar expects to report annual revenue growth of 228% to £4.44m, which it said was “comfortably in line with market expectations”.

The AIM-listed etailer reported that order numbers climbed 224% to 102,742 in the year to March 31, when the number of new customers rose 131% to 46,914.

Joint chief executives Ali Hall and Julie Lavington said: “We are delighted to be reporting a year of substantial growth across all our key metrics including revenue, orders and new customers.

“This has been reflected in market expectations which have been upgraded twice during the year and we have now built a strong foundation on which Sosandar can continue to grow as a brand, providing our underserved market with quality, affordable clothing.”

Waterstones staff petition for wage rise

Waterstones employees have delivered a petition to the bookseller’s managing director James Daunt calling for higher wages for the lowest paid staff.

They called for a minimum wage of £9 an hour, the BBC reported.

Daunt has said Waterstones is paying “what it could afford”, but aimed to raise wages across the board.

The Waterstones’ staff have won backing from well-known authors such as Philip Pullman who signed an open letter to Daunt.