John Lewis has reported a slump in weekly sales of 11.6 per cent as the department store chain said the “trading climate remains challenging”.

For the week ending April 18, John Lewis said the outcome was expected, with one trading day less then last year and “two glorious spring days across the country on Easter Monday and last Saturday”.

The chain’s childrenswear performed well, with girlswear and children’s shoes up 30 per cent. In menwear, branded casualwear was strong and in womenswear, shoes were “pick of the crop”.

John Lewis managing director Andy Street said: “With Easter behind us we have an accurate read of trade for the year to date at -6.6 per cent; clearly very challenging, but somewhat better than we predicted. No doubt this is partly due to the excellent operational performance we have achieved across the division. This is good news indeed as, if ever there is a time for the basics to be right, it is now.”

Waitrose reported a slip of 8.1 per cent for the week as the grocer said “bank holiday Monday was seen by many as the chance to get some jobs done”.

Sales of garden care products rocketed 42 per cent against last year, and sales of car care products jumped 16 per cent.

As the weather improved, shoppers turned to favourite summer foods including ice cream, which was up 25 per cent, feta cheese, up 35 per cent, and shellfish, up nearly 45 per cent.

The grocer said orders with Waitrose Deliver surged following the news it has abolished delivery charges.

Overall, the John Lewis Partnership was down 9.5 per cent for the week.