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Good news on the horizon at John Lewis

UK retail bellwether the John Lewis Partnership yesterday confirmed that sales for the week were down 1.3% against the same period last year which is a marked improvement from the 9.8% slump the previous week. However, the management also confirmed this may be due to the timing of the school half term and winter purchases prior to Christmas.

Even though this improvement in weekly sales is encouraging Patrick Lewis, the group's retail operations manager, warned that the market for big-ticket items was slowing further as we head towards Christmas. This opinion is further cemented by the announcement that homeware sales are down 10.7% for the week and electrical and technology sales were down 2.2%. The star performer was the fashion sector with sales up an impressive 9.6%.

The weekly sales figures from the John Lewis Partnership are proving to be a very interesting indication of the market week by week and many analysts await these figures with anticipation. Recent events on the high street have confirmed fears that Christmas this year looks like being amongst the worst on record. We should see an indication of trade figures just before and just after the Christmas period which will confirm the situation.

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