Department store chain John Lewis has reported sales up 4.3% from Sunday to Wednesday, despite freezing weather in some areas, and is preparing for its biggest-ever Sale

Retail director Andrew Murphy said: “As expected, some trade has migrated from our online channel to our shops following the cut off for pre-Christmas deliveries, making for a fantastic atmosphere in our branches.”

The retailer singled out lingerie, beauty, jewellery and watches as especially popular with male customers making last-minute purchases. ‘Intelligent putty’ and the Ridley’s yo-yo were among the best selling stocking fillers - one flew off the shelves every five minutes. In lingerie the star brands were Mimi Holliday, up 25% on than last year, Stella McCartney, up 23% and Elle Macpherson ahead 15%.

Murphy said John Lewis would hold its “biggest ever” clearance Sale. The promotion will begin online at 5pm on Christmas Eve and stores will follow suit on December 27.

Last week John Lewis generated sales of £120.3m - up 7% year on year.