John Lewis Partnership recorded a 2.8 per cent sales rise in the week to May 16.

The eponymous department store chain posted a decline of 0.7 per cent, bringing the year to date fall to 5.5 per cent. Grocer Waitrose notched up a 4.9 per cent rise in turnover, bringing the total to 3.2 per cent so far this year.

John Lewis director of selling operations, region B, David Barford said discounting by rivals drove footfall to the department stores. Electricals and home technology sales rose 4 per cent versus last year “driven by a stunning performance in consumer electronics”, Barford said. Fashion accessories and beauty delivered a double-digit increase.

Barford added: “The next few weeks should provide significant opportunity. The weather last year took a turn for the worse, so outstanding shopkeeping, strong promotions of high summer assortments and clear communication of value to our customers supported by good customer service should provide the keys to success.”

Last week Waitrose launched 50 more essential Waitrose products and another 87 will debut this week. Waitrose personnel director Ailsa Emerson said: “The success of essential Waitrose continues to build, with sales last week growing at almost 6 per cent year on year. The range now numbers over 500 products and our branches are reporting an increasing familiarity with the brand by customers.”