Department store retailer John Lewis today (3 August) described a 12.9% rise in first-half sales as "hugely encouraging".

For the six months ended 28 July, the company's fashion division increased 7%, driven by strong gains from the sale of nursery and baby wear, as well as accessories and beauty. The company's home segment climbed 6%.

Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis said the retailer "substantially outperformed a slow market".

He said: "While we have added a number of new shops, growth from the established business has been strong. We managed to achieve the goal of any omni channel retailer: growth in both shops and online."

"We go into the second half with confidence provided by strong momentum. We're on course to sell huge quantities of London 2012 merchandise this week, and will I'm sure benefit indirectly from our small part in The Games; a remarkable achievement for our country."