Waitrose sales excluding fuel climbed 3.2% year on year last week as the chilly weather drove customers to the shops.

Sales of cold and flu relief medicines jumped 17% for the week to February 24, while sales of soup increased 9% and instant coffee rose 14%.

Alcohol sales also shot up significantly in the cold weather. Beer, wines and spirits sales increased 7.5%, while Champagne performed particularly well, with sales up 21%; gin sales rose 12%.

Waitrose became the first UK supermarket to introduce a gin made in Japan during the week. Roku, a craft gin from Japanese distillery The House of Suntory, is now available in-store nationwide and on waitrosecellar.com.

John Lewis

Sister retailer John Lewis recorded a small bump in sales during the same week with a 0.3% year-on-year increase.

Electricals and fashion sales helped offset a decline in the home department. Electrical sales increased 4.5% thanks to strong sales of TVs and vacuum cleaners, while the retailer said the week saw a “strong” rise in smartphone sales.

Fashion sales increased 0.4% off the back of a 6.3% increase in womenswear sales as shoppers bought for their spring/summer wardrobes despite the cold weather.

Home sales decreased 0.8% despite a 3.3% sales increase in flooring and a “record launch week” for outdoor furniture.