Sales at John Lewis & Partners department stores slid last week but there was a strong rise at grocery stablemate Waitrose & Partners.

John Lewis’s sales were down 4.1% year on year in the week to December 28. That brought the decline over the 48 weeks of the retailer’s financial year so far to 1.6% versus the previous year.

Waitrose’s weekly sales rose 18.8% year on year, and on a 48-week basis they were down 0.8%.

John Lewis said: “Despite a busy few days in the run-up to Christmas, a slower than usual start to clearance promotions saw a dip in sales for the week.”

Fashion sales climbed 5.8% in the week, helped by last-minute Christmas shopping. However sales in the home goods category slipped 5.3% while electricals and home technology was down 14.5% “due to slower demand for clearance promotions”.

Waitrose said its numbers were “heavily distorted by the fall of Christmas, particularly the inclusion of December 22, one of our peak trading days, which fell in the previous week in 2018”.

Parent John Lewis Partnership will update on Christmas trading on January 9, when the picture of seasonal performance will be clearer.