The John Lewis Partnership suffered a sales fall last week at its eponymous department stores and supermarket chain Waitrose.

Sales at John Lewis fell 12.6 per cent in the week to March 21, influenced by the timing of Easter last year and good weather, and Waitrose posted a 13.7 per cent decline.

John Lewis head of internal communications Simon Fowler said a challenging week had been expected, but observed: “What is reassuring is our underlying trade continued to maintain a steady course and we captured some valuable additional sales in the lead-up to Mother’s Day.”

He said that, among the department stores, the Peter Jones store stood out as “a clear winner” as womenswear and accessories “excelled as new season’s fashion proved a strong hit with Chelsea customers”. Oxford Street also did well.

Fowler added: “Our focus now shifts to Easter, where encouragingly our performance is already ahead of last year, indicating that the later fall of Easter should play to our advantage in the weeks ahead.”

Waitrose supply chain director Mark Williamson said the changed timing of Easter meant a year-on-year sales comparison “isn’t meaningful” and that sales are “well ahead of target”.

Waitrose’s second convenience store opened in Clifton, Bristol, during the week and met its sales target for the entire week in the first three days of trading.

Good weather stimulated the biggest sales week for tomatoes at Waitrose since last August, while burgers were up as the first barbecues of the years took place.

John Lewis Partnership’s sales were down 13.3 per cent to £125.5m for the week.