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March 5, 2010    

John Lewis posts further double-digit rise, Waitrose eyes growth

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by Kay Murchie

The John Lewis Partnership, which is seen as a barometer of British retailing, today announced sales grew 14.8% to £50.4 million in the week to 27 February compared with the same period a year ago.

The figures at the renowned employee-owned department store suggest consumer spending recovered in February since it was the seventh consecutive double-digit percentage rise.

Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, comments: “Even allowing for the fact that John Lewis has been outperforming the sector as a whole, this robust performance boosts hopes that retail sales bounced back appreciably in February after being hit hard in January by the very bad weather.”

Meanwhile, at its Waitrose supermarket chain, sales grew 11.7% to £88.9 million, cementing its position as the UK’s fastest growing grocer.

Waitrose managing director, Mark Price, has pledged to double sales and market share over the next 10 years as the chain strives to become “more accessible to more people”.

Mr Price wants to double sales from the current £5 billion to £10 billion in the next decade and grow market share to 8% - from the current 4.3%. He also expects the chain to end 2010 as the fastest growing supermarket for the second consecutive year.

The chain is expected to open its first smaller convenience store format within the next two months.

This week, it emerged that chefs Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal will act as food representatives for the brand and will also feature in the chain’s new advertising.

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