John Lewis sees slowdown in weekly sales
The John Lewis Partnership, which is regarded as a barometer of British retailing, has revealed sales slowed in the week to 15 January – attributed to the VAT hike from 17.5% to 20%.
In the previous week, the renowned employee-owned department store said the bank holiday, on Monday 3 January, saw shoppers buy furniture and electrical goods as they looked to beat the VAT rise and department store sales soared 38.7% – the biggest rise in the group’s fiscal year which ends this month.
However, last week, sales rose 4.1% to £55.8 million as households look to rein in their spending as food and fuel prices rise and the Government’s spending cuts take effect.
Commenting on the figures, Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, explains: “The reduced year-on-year gains in John Lewis sales fuels suspicion that consumers will be very careful in their spending over the coming months in the face of serious pressure.”