John Lewis has revealed that total sales rose 2.4 per cent excluding VAT and like-for-likes remained flat in the five weeks to January 3.
Over the key Christmas and early Sale period at the department store group, fashion sales - including beauty - grew by 4 per cent. Sales in its home division fell 6 per cent over the period although trade has strengthened in the last week. The electricals and home technology division, which traditionally outperforms over the festive season, grew by 10 per cent.

The figures represent a robust performance by the retail bellwether in one of the toughest Christmas trading environments recorded.

During the period, John Lewis notched up two record sales weeks online and two record sales weeks in electricals and home technology. It also revealed its biggest ever day on December 27 at the start of its Clearance in stores as well as its busiest ever hour online on Christmas Eve when its Clearance began online.

John Lewis managing director Andy Street said he was “encouraged” by the retailer’s performance.

“Whilst we expect the next few months to be extremely tough, we are confident that our continuing focus on inspiring products, great value and differentiated service leaves John Lewis well positioned to meet customer needs in this challenging time," he said.