Demand for electricals still strong
John Lewis has said that its department stores sales grew 7.3 per cent in the week to December 3, compared with the same period last year.

MP3 players helped a 26.4 per cent rise in sales of electronics, and winter clothing and Christmas toys both performed strongly. Sales of smaller electricals, such as coffee-makers and vacuum cleaners was also buoyant.

Womenswear and accessories were up by 5.8 per cent, while the knit shop helped with a good performance. John Lewis director of customer service Simon Fowler said: 'An excellent result from cashmere shows how much this product is in demand this Christmas.'

The retailer is optimistic about Christmas trading, with a headline on employee magazine the John Lewis Gazette declaring: 'Let the tills ring out for Xmas.'

Sales of duvets were boosted by the cold weather. This week's report also revealed that Christmas stationery sales are starting to increase.