John Lewis sales edged up 1.8% to £65.4m last week as the warm bank holiday weekend drove sales of summer ranges in an otherwise “tougher” week.

The department store retailer said the “going was more difficult” than the previous week but that was offset slightly by the warm bank holiday weekend which helped summer fashion sales.

The home category struggled against tough comparisons from last year but sales across outdoor living soared 160%. Barbecue sales rocketed 140%.

John Lewis head of retail change Chris Hooper said: “Twelve months ago we had the benefit of early Olympic activity, so it will be important to draw on every opportunity, and not least stock availability. It is good then to see stock levels holding up well, and the distribution team on top of its targets for servicing our operations.

“There might be less to get excited about this year, but no doubt every sinew will be stretched to ensure we grasp every opportunity that comes along.”

The electricals and home technology category continued to be “challenged” by comparatives impacted by the digital switchover last year and big product launches, John Lewis said.

The retailer recorded a 44% surge in click-and-collect orders.

In contrast to John Lewis, sister grocer Waitrose recorded a “very strong week”, boosted by the bank holiday weekend.

Last week’s sales excluding petrol increased 11.4% to £119.6m, as customers stocked up on summer foods.

Customers bought almost £1m worth of ice cream, as sales surged 28% on last year. Sales of cider and gin jumped 77%, and Pimm’s sales rocketed 193%.

Sales of sun protection products rose 152%.

Light foods such as salads were up 35%, as crisps and snacks recorded a 26% increase and quiches were up 24%, as customers prepared for picnics.  

The weather also boosted horticulture sales, which were up 25%.

Online sales jumped 36% against last year.