UK's John Lewis sales dive for second straight week
* Sales fall 6.8 pct in week to Nov. 17
* Says homewares particularly weak
* AO World highlights weak appliance market
* Rival Debenhams shares fall 10 pct
LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Sales at John Lewis,
Britain's largest department store group, have fallen sharply
for a second consecutive week, adding to evidence of a slowdown
in UK consumer spending.
The employee-owned group said on Tuesday its total sales
fell 6.8 percent in the week to Nov. 17 year-on-year with
homewares particularly weak at down 14.7 percent.
"Early in the week sales continued to be impacted by the
mild weather, but they increased significantly at the end of the
week as a result of us launching our Christmas advert on
Thursday, and a big increase in Black Friday deals on Friday and
Saturday, which we price matched," John Lewis said.
The group's total sales had fallen 8.3 percent in the
Shares in struggling rival Debenhams were down 10
percent at 1216 GMT.
British retail sales overall rose at the slowest pace in six
months in October, official data showed last week, while
companies, including Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's
and B&M have cautioned on the outlook for
grocery, general merchandise and clothing.
Also on Tuesday online electricals retailer AO World
reported slower sales growth, blaming a declining market for
domestic appliances such as fridges and washing machines. Its
shares were down 8 percent.
Britain's retailers are hoping discounts tied to Black
Friday, which falls on Nov. 23, will get shoppers spending again
after a disastrous year for the sector.
A string of UK store groups have gone out of business or
announced shop closures in 2018 as they struggled with subdued
consumer spending, rising labour costs, higher business property
taxes, growing online competition and uncertainty over Brexit.
(Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle)
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