Diverse non-food offering cushions department store against tough trading environment
John Lewis has reported a 1.6 per cent increase in like-for-like sales for the seven weeks to January 1.

Fashion sales grew 3.5 per cent, with womenswear and accessories up 2.9 per cent. Home product sales increased marginally by 0.7 per cent. Electricals and home technology sales were flat. Sales for the half year, from July 25 to January 8, increased by 1.7 per cent, the retailer said.

John Lewis retail operations director Gareth Thomas said: 'It has been a challenging trading environment, affected by a succession of interest rate rises, a flat housing market and high energy costs. With the added effect of deflation on the retail economy, it is clearly unrealistic to assume large automatic year-on-year growth in sterling figures, which makes these results particularly encouraging.'