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While UK retailer John Lewis’ five-week sales up to 27 December saw a 5.8% increase, Marks & Spencer, another iconic UK high street name, saw general merchandise sales fall by the same amount in the third quarter, while online sales fell 5.9%, year-on-year. The company blamed unseasonal weather in the early part of the quarter, which affected clothing sales, and then disruption at its Castle Donington online sales distribution centre. While John Lewis steamed ahead in multichannel retailing, “M&S’s logistical problems meant that it could not properly enjoy the fruits of this growth”, said one analyst. “A dismal set of figures.”

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