Clothing categories weak performers
John Lewis enjoyed another strong week, with sales up 8.1 per cent for the seven days to September 23.

Although supply chain director Patrick Lewis conceded total sales were 'not up to the double-figure growth that we've been used to', the retailer's total sales for the year to date are 13.5 per cent ahead on 2005.

Electricals and home technology was the star performer over the week, with an increase of 24.3 per cent. Furniture, textiles and furnishing accessories were up more than 8 per cent, but clothing was the weakest performer. Sales of menswear were up just 1.3 per cent while womenswear and childrenswear sales dived 7.2 per cent. Toys and gifts also struggled with sales of the category down 7.8 per cent.

Warmer weather, particularly in the latter part of the week, was blamed for the difficulties in the clothing departments.

Across the portfolio 23 of the 27 outlets showed overall increases against last year.

But, online sales for the week leapt 48.9 per cent on last year.

Lewis said: 'Looking ahead, we now start the steady climb to our Christmas peak where sales will hit almost double last weeks level. An enormous amount of work is continuing behind the scenes to ensure we can offer the very best service during those busy weeks.'