Debenhams has revealed that sales of winter clothes are booming as the wet summer continues and shoppers prepare for high winter fuel bills.

The department store group reported sales of thermal underwear were up 54 per cent on this time last year and winter coat sales have soared 76 per cent, while warm knitwear sales climbed 53 per cent.

Debenhams said the figures were similar to those traditionally seen during October and shoppers are turning their backs on sarongs and swimwear. The retailer expects a slight increase in sales of winter clothes because of the weather, but put the lift down to “hibernation hysteria”.

The rise followed comments by Jake Ulrich of energy company Centrica telling customers struggling with soaring fuel bills that “maybe it’s two jumpers instead of one”.