Department store group John Lewis and stablemate grocer Waitrose posted solid sales for the week to May 3.

John Lewis delivered a 1.8 per cent increase in sales for the period, driven largely by fashion and technology sales.

John Lewis retail operations director Patrick Lewis said: “Signs of summer at last. After a month where outerwear and warm clothing topped the tables, it was great to see our summer ranges hitting the bestseller lists. Sales lifted on the previous week and on last year, with lower footfall on Saturday taking the pace out of a stronger start to the week. Thursday was our weakest day, with local elections diverting shoppers away.”

Sales of girlswear items increased 50 per cent, with the latest range of dresses hitting the mark and its own brand womenswear performing strongly.

Sister supermarket chain Waitrose posted sales up 3 per cent for the seven days to May 3.

Waitrose retail director Tony Solomons said: “Rain across the country drove trading patterns, with excellent sales of meat, pies, vegetables and pizzas. The rain inevitably drove weaker sales of barbecue, fruit and beer when set against the hotter weather last year.”