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Retail: John Lewis posts strongest annual growth in sales since start of recession

PUBLISHED: 17:39 31 January 2014 | UPDATED: 17:39 31 January 2014

The  John Lewis at home and Waitrose stores in Ipswich.

The John Lewis at home and Waitrose stores in Ipswich.

Department store chain John Lewis said today it had notched up its best annual like-for-like sales growth since the start of the recession.

Total revenues for the year to January 25 increased by 7.4% - including a rise of 8% in the second half of the year.

Managing director Andy Street said: “By any measure that’s a pleasing outcome as it represents a decisive gain in market share.”

He said the store had seen success in “bricks and clicks” with the “powerhouse” of online taking the lead, while 16 shops registered record years.

The company did not provide a like-for-like annual figure in its trading update, but Mr Street said: “For the year as a whole the shop story is one of delivering the best ‘like for like’ movement since the onset of the recession.”

He said the momentum would be taken into the new trading year, adding: “We have lots of plans to stand out from the crowd in 2014.”

Sales in the final week of the trading year were up 12.7% to £66.7million compared with the same period last year, helped by a comparison with a snow-hit spell in 2013.

Sister company Waitrose said it had seen total sales for the half year excluding petrol up by 6.8%, driven by the popularity of its myWaitrose loyalty scheme together with the growth in online.

Industry figures two weeks ago showed the supermarket had again extended its market share, to 4.8%.

IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer said: “The recent robust John Lewis performance supports hopes that consumer spending will be decent during the early months of 2014, and help the economy to continue to grow strongly.”

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