John Lewis recorded its highest weekly sales of its first half so far last week, but Waitrose experienced a rare fall in sales, which it attributed to the timing of Easter.

Sales at the department store business were up 3.1%, or 1.4% excluding VAT. The combination of Mother’s Day, competitor price matching and better weather helped sales, which were 12% higher than the previous week and 34% higher than the same week two years ago.

Even so, the like-for-like performance was poor, with only four branches achieving an increase. Six branches showed double digit declines, with sales at the first John Lewis at Home store in Poole plummeting by a third.

Online had a good week, with sales up 32% and fashion sales on the web up 82%.

At sister supermarket chain Waitrose sales fell 4.9%. However, supply chain director David Jones said the performance was distorted by the timing of Easter and in line with expectations. Compared to the week before Mother’s Day last year, sales were 10.5% higher.