John Lewis sales edged forward by 0.5 per cent to £1.24 billion for the half year ending July 26th, although the chairman of the John Lewis Partnership admitted that the outlook for the coming six months and 2009 remains challenging.
Like for like sales were down 1.0 per cent, while operating profit fell by £21 million or 34 per cent to £40 million.
The chain gained market share in fashion and held share in home and electricals. Sales in fashion grew by five per cent and one per cent in electricals, offsetting five per cent lower sales in home, which reflects the decline in the housing sector.
John Lewis Direct thrived with sales up 30 per cent as the chain increased the number of lines available for national delivery to over 36,000.
Total Partnership sales (including John Lewis and Waitrose) for the period were £3.27 billion, up 3.6 per cent.