Sales at John Lewis department stores fell last week as the retailer came up against tough comparatives.

Revenues at John Lewis stores slipped 1.8% to £52.2m in the week to March 12. Last year the equivalent period included a Mothers’ Day effect, and John Lewis buying and brand director Peter Ruis said in that context last week’s performance was “creditable” and sales were up 16% on 2009.

He said: “The impact of Mothers’ Day was told in the story of the week’s trade, with a strong start tailing off as the weekend approached. Against this background it was undoubtedly a challenging week for our shops.”

Fashion sales were down 2.6% over the week and home sales fell 4.6%. However, electricals and home technology recorded a 3.1% rise.

Sales through climbed 28.9%.

Ruis said: “As we look ahead to the next few weeks, the trading pattern will continue to be complex to read due to the fall of Easter.

“Nevertheless we should have confidence that when customers are ready to spend we are in good shape to take the sale.

“This was underlined on Sunday when, without the distraction of Mothers’ Day, we started the week with a 20% increase.”

Sales at grocery stablemate Waitrose increased by 4.5% over the week to £97.6m.

Waitrose opened its first store in Guernsey during the period, in Rohais. Waitrose commercial director Mark Williamson said: “It’s important to us and our customers that our branches in the Channel Islands reflect the local culture. Waitrose Rohais is selling more than 200 products from the island from around 20 suppliers, including milk, bread, cheese, fish, vegetables and cider.”