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John Lewis Strikes Gold With Olympic Sales

(c) Sky News 2012

John Lewis finished the Olympics with a gold rush as its overall sales soared by 13%, netting the company £168.30m in the week to August 11.

The year-on-year boost came during the final week of London 2012 as Team GB's success rubbed off on shoppers who were inspired to buy sporting goods and champagne.

Sales at John Lewis stores were up 14.9% to £60.75m with the retailer saying: "The London 2012 Olympic Games and the weekend celebrations certainly played a part in our success."

Sports clothing and equipment saw the biggest increase as sales rocketed by 178% compared to the same period in 2011.

More than half of the 37 John Lewis outlets reported increases on last year, with sales at the Oxford Street store rising by 18.9%.

This was despite concerns central London had been turned into a "ghost town" during the Olympics.

While shoppers were hitting the high street, John Lewis online also pulled in the punters as it saw an increase on last year of 36.4%.

The group's supermarket chain Waitrose also struck gold with strong sales figures for the last week of the Games.

Retail director David Jones (Xetra: 898370 - news) said: "Team GB and the sunny weather inspired a 12.0% increase in sales on last year as the feel good factor continued to sweep the nation."

Waitrose said it had seen fresh produce sales sprint 15.3% ahead of last year and beers, wines and spirits sales jump by 12.7%.

Mr Jones said: "There was certainly a mood of celebration as the 'Mobot' (Mo Farah's signature pose) went global and we toasted our sporting heroes.

"Champagne sales saw a 35% uplift on the same time last year and sparkling wine a huge 78% increase."

He added: "Our Stratford City branch set a record for the number of customers served."

The news follows the latest ONS retail figures which showed some surprise sales growth in July, although this data only included the first two days of the Olympic Games.