John Lewis expects today (December 8) to be its biggest to date for online sales after notching up a record week at

In the week to Saturday, online sales broke the retailer's previous record - achieved last year in the week ending Saturday December 15 - by£500,000. Sales were driven by demand for gifts, Christmas decorations, furnishing accessories, home electronics and toys.

Its click and collect service, which allows customers to order online and collect in stores had its best week to date, up 41 per cent on the previous week.

During the period, sales at John Lewis stores soared 20 per cent week on week. The retailer said there had been a strong trend for buying products for children, home entertainment and home furnishings.

Sales were down 6.7 per cent for the week year on year, although that was an improvement on recent figures, which have been down by as much as 13 per cent.

John Lewis said that the improvement reflected its decision to implement the VAT reduction as early as possible and its commitment to its Never Knowingly Undersold price promise.

John Lewis director of selling operations Nat Wakely said: “This week's much stronger sales have borne out our belief that John Lewis' strong and innovative Christmas products, customer service and price matching will ensure our continued position as a market leader over the festive period.

“The next two weeks are absolutely crucial for us and all high street retailers but we are confident that the upward sales trend will continue.”

He added: “Customers are clearly appreciating new developments to our multichannel proposition and are responding well where we are making shopping choices even more convenient.”