Sales were up 2.9% at John Lewis (excluding VAT) last week, but the retailer warned that the calendar will make meaningful comparisons difficult for “a few weeks yet”

With VAT included, sales for the week ending 16 April were up 4.5%. managed a 29.6% increase in sales, and of the bricks-and-mortar stores, around half managed a VAT-inclusive increase, and the other half were down. Trafford and Poole led the way with double-digit increases but five stores showed double-digit declines. Out of town shops were among the weaker performers which John Lewis attributed to the good weather.

Of the product categories, electricals and home technology led the way (up 9% including VAT) while fashion sales were “solid” with childresnwear doing best. Home sales, up 1.6%, were described as “a little more modest” with big ticket sales particularly soft.

Waitrose sales were up 8.6%, with home baking a particularly strong area.