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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
World Cup boosts John Lewis sales
Statue on Nelson's column draped with England scarf for World Cup
World Cup fever has gripped the UK
Soaring sales of flat screen TVs at John Lewis have offered the first concrete evidence of World Cup fever giving a boost to retailers.

Flat screen TVs are selling at a rate of one every 40 seconds across its 27 outlets and its online business as football fans warm up for the contest.

Sales of the TVs, up 200% on last year's levels, helped push electrical sales 37.9% higher last week.

Meanwhile, overall sales rose 9.1% to 45m during the same period.

"Customers are taking the opportunity to replace their old cathode ray television sets, as flat panel technology becomes more affordable," John Lewis buyer John Kempner said.

Many retailers have been banking on the World Cup to boost plasma TV sales, while manufacturer LG recently said demand for flat screens had helped it almost double first quarter profits to 95m.

John Lewis also announced its Waitrose division was performing well with sales up 9% for the 17 weeks to 27 May.

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