John Lewis sales rocketed 26.5% to £72.67m as the cold weather put customers “in the right mood for shopping” and Christmas buying began in earnest in the week to September 29.

John Lewis head of selling operations, new format Maggie Porteous noted that in the corresponding week last year temperatures were reaching 28°C.

This year, the week “started wet and finished cold and windy”. Porteous said: “With great increases from all three buying directorates, it was a strong week all round.”

She added there was a “real sense of Christmas buying” with many shops achieving November levels of trade on Saturday.

John Lewis price matched a competitor, which boosted trade in fashion in particular.

Online sales surged 48.4% as the website attracted the second highest number of customer visits ever.

Fashion saw “strong increases” across all categories, particularly kidswear, which jumped 77% as parents bought coats and warm clothing for their children.

Womenswear sales were up 49% as the new Somerset by Temperley continued to prove popular.

Electricals and home technology sales “continued its impressive run” with sales up 31.8% as tablets continued to sell well.

Home sales were also strong, up 13%. Darker nights helped lighting sales rocket 39%.

The John Lewis at Home store in Croydon performed particularly well, with sales growth of 41.5%.

Of the main line stores, Trafford and Swindon delivered the stand-out performances.

Porteous added: “This week sees the launch of the Christmas department in all of our shops and that is the signal to our customers to start their Christmas purchasing in earnest.”

At sister retailer Waitrose, sales at the upmarket grocer rose 6.9% to £109.25m last week as the cool weather led to Brits stocking up on comfort food.

Canned soup was up 47% and confectionery grew 26%.

The Heston from Waitrose Dine In range launched last week, helping to drive ready meal sales up 20%.