Sales at Waitrose slipped 1.7% last week year-on-year, as the upmarket grocer predicts shoppers are leaving Christmas grocery shopping until the last minute.

Waitrose brought in sales of £164.43m over the seven-day period to December 17.

It said: “The week finished with seven full trading days until Christmas compared with only five last year, so many customers will be holding off making purchases for the big day until later.”

It reported strong sales of Christmas cards during the week, up 20%, which contributed to a 6.9% uplift in its home and general merchandise category.

Shoppers are seemingly stocking up on luxury items too, with the grocer reporting an 80% surge in sales of quail eggs and a 36% increase in service-counter cheese sales.

John Lewis

Sales at John Lewis edged up 0.4% last week to £172.52m.

The department store retailer also predicts that, with Christmas Day falling on a Sunday this year, the biggest shopping days are still to come.

Fashion sales grew 2.6% year-on-year, with knitwear performing particularly well – up 35%.

However, sales in its electricals, home and technology department slid 0.6%.

The best-selling electrical item was the Dyson supersonic hairdryer, with headphones, mobile phones and wearable tech achieving record sales.

Home sales were down 1.3%, but sales of upholstery were up 18%.

Overall sales across the John Lewis Partnership last week came in at £336.95m – down 0.6% year-on-year.

Last week, Waitrose lifted the lid on its newest store format as it places an increasing focus on food service to drive growth.