John Lewis has revealed that sales in the week to Saturday November 14 rose 17.1% on the year to £71.9m, £500,000 ahead of the equivalent week in 2007.

Last year, retailers were forced to introduce discounts to tempt shoppers, spooked by the banking crisis, into stores.

The retailer said the figures show shoppers have started Christmas shopping.

John Lewis director of operational development Andrew Murphy said: “This week’s sales figures are a clear sign that Christmas shopping has begun in earnest. Despite challenging weather conditions yesterday our customers came out in force to buy gifts, decorations and in particular products for the home in advance of Christmas entertaining. The figures give us even more confidence that John Lewis’ strong and innovative products, customer service and price matching will ensure our continued position as market leader on the high street over the festive season.”

John Lewis reported sales rose in beds and beddings, rugs, cushions, lighting and curtains. Sales in electronics and home technology were “excellent” said John Lewis, with radios, TVs and DVDs selling well.

Christmas trees and decorations were also strong on last year with toys and traditional board games driving sales.

This weekend, John Lewis launched its Christmas television campaign.