Christmas mood optimistic
John Lewis revealed today that sales are up for the fifth consecutive week. The Partnership appears to be reaping the benefits of the colder weather and is brimming with optimism for the Christmas period.

John Lewis supply chain director Patrick Lewis said: 'The next two weeks require the steepest growth in sales for the half. Our shopfloors look exceptionally strong and availability is the best it's been - we are more than ready for it.'

Group sales were£61.9 million, representing a lift of 5.8 per cent against last year. The retailer was bolstered by the freezing conditions, which have helped fashion retailers make sales of hats, gloves and scarves. The department store chain posted a 6.8 per cent increase in womenswear sales, against 0.4 per cent last week.

The retailer's transactional web site made impressive headway, with a 56.6 per cent increase in sales.

Waitrose also benefited from the wintry weather and Christmas assortments sold well. Total sales at the grocer rose to£65.3 million.