John Lewis has reported its best ever weekly sales performance as customers returned to the high street after the heavy snow.

John Lewis smashed its weekly sales record to notch up £121m in the seven days to Saturday December 11.

The department store said that pent up demand following the heavy snow across swathes of the country had helped to thaw sales frozen by the crippling weather.

Sales rose 8% on the retailer’s biggest week in 2009 when it took £112m. The figure also represents a 10% rise on the same week last year and was a 16.7% jump on last week’s trade.

The performance will fuel hopes that the high street can recover some of the trade lost during the vital pre-Christmas trading period hampered by the snow fall.

However, it is expected that many on the high street will consider unplanned promotions to drive customers through their doors and shift stock which was not sold during the snowy weather.

During the week, recorded its biggest ever day on December 6, with sales ahead of the previous Monday. The department store is forecasting another ‘mega’ Monday today. Online sales were up 45% year-on-year for the week in total.

Gift buying was the main focus for shoppers with beauty products, toys, coffee machines, iPads, sounddocks, jewellery, lingerie, handbags and gift food driving sales. 

Home decoration products were also popular with cushions, throws and candles leading the performance as well as sewing machines, reflecting the trend for people to make their own products

David Barford, director selling operations for John Lewis, said: “We are thrilled to have exceeded our record week from last year, and by such a margin. The thaw in the weather has no doubt helped, and shoppers have been out in force throughout the week.

“Even in areas where snow has persisted we have seen the determination of our customers to deliver a perfect Christmas for their friends and family, whether that is selecting presents or decorating the home.

“The atmosphere in our branches is very festive as Partners pull out all the stops to deliver the levels of service our customers rightly expect from us.”