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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 November 2005, 14:41 GMT
John Lewis celebrates cold snap
John Lewis store
Womenswear, toys and electrical goods are being snapped up
Department store and Waitrose supermarket chain owner John Lewis says the recent cold spell has helped lure shoppers back to the High Street.

The group reported a surge in demand for winter clothing and Christmas gifts as early festive spending was helped along by the drop in temperature.

Sales were up 5.8% on last year in the week to 19 November.

Only two months ago, John Lewis said retail trading conditions were the worst it had seen in 15 years.

Since then retailers have blamed unseasonably mild weather in October and early November for a slow start to Christmas shopping.

Shoppers had held back on buying winter clothing, but now that has changed.

"The cold weather this week has triggered a real transition in our fortunes," said Gareth Thomas, director of retail operations at John Lewis.

"There is no doubt people have started to think seriously now about Christmas spending."

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