John Lewis department stores recorded a dip in sales last week, when there was one less trading day than usual because of the New Year’s Day bank holiday.
Total sales for the week ending January 7 slipped 2.2%.
Fashion sales fell 5.2% and home was down 5% but electricals and technology sales increased 4.2%.
Online sales were up 19.7% but sales at all 32 stores for which figures are given were down.
Managing director Andy Street said: “In our first trading week in 2012, the headline sales performance was the result of one less trading day, and actually masked some very promising individual daily sales.
“Customers continued to respond very positively to our clearance package and we achieved double-digit percentage increases on both ‘reduced to clear’ and ‘special buy’ stock. As we have been planning for our biggest ever clearance, availability is sufficient for continued strong results on red ticket.”
Grocery sales at Waitrose were 8% up on the equivalent period - Tuesday to Saturday - last year, removing the impact of the extra trading day.
Sales of cleaning products were up 11% on last year while toiletries sales rose 22%.
Prime Minister David Cameron visited Waitrose head office in Bracknell last week to present a Big Society Award to managing director Mark Price for his work with local communities.