Last week of quarter ends well
John Lewis reported impressive trading figures this week for the week ending October 29. Resilient consumers were unphased by avian flu and excited by Halloween, leading to the partnership scoring high on sales, with a 1.6 per cent like for like increase overall.

John Lewis director of retail operations Gareth Thomas said: 'The final week of trading ended on a high note and provided some welcoming encouragement for the demanding weeks ahead.'

The half-term week brought an increase in shopper numbers to the group, but this was counterbalanced by mild weather conditions that continued to hamper clothing sales.

London stores faced challenges as torrential rain was followed by warm conditions towards the end of the week. Out-of-town shops were in the doldrums during the same period last year, but made up for it this time round. High Wycombe, Bluewater and Cribbs Causeway stores increased in sales.

Evolution retail analyst Nick Bubb said of the results: 'Last week was surprisingly good for John Lewis.'

This week's high-performing categories echoed last week, with electrical and home technology continuing to outstrip other categories with an impressive 13.6 per cent like-for-like sales increase. Sales of children's shoes over the half term were up, womenswear continued to fall behind with a drop of 6.2 per cent.

At Waitrose, Angela Megson was impressed by consumer hardiness and said: 'Although there was heightened publicity about avian flu, our customers responded in their usual sensible way, with poultry and eggs unaffected.'

Halloween delights for trick or treaters sold well and the coffee shops within some Waitrose stores were busy during the school break.