John Lewis posted a “solid” 6.5% rise in sales to £57.94m against strong comparatives last week.

The department store said unseasonably hot weather had presented “opportunities and challenges” for the retailer with comparisons on a year earlier also affected by the launch of the iPad 2 last year.

John Lewis said it finished off the month in “fine style” with online – up 40.6% – and electricals up 22.3% in the week to March 24.

The retailer’s home store in Poole recorded the strongest performance with a 25.3% while the laggard was Peterborough, down 13.4%. John Lewis’ out-of-town shops felt the impact of reduced footfall hardest.

John Lewis retail services director Barry Matheson said: “As we look ahead, our ability to make year-on-year comparisons becomes complicated by the fall of Easter.

“My read on things is that we are in good shape to take maximum advantage of the opportunities ahead and we have the forthcoming Spring Celebration weekend next week which I’m sure partners will really enjoy getting behind.”

Retail analyst Nick Bubb said: “The main issue was the fine weather, which was both ‘good news and bad news’, but certainly hit footfall on Saturday.

“Overall John Lewis saw c3.5% like-for-like sales growth last week. Online and electricals sales strength shone through again, thanks to the London Digital TV boom, but that sales mix is not good for gross margins.”

Waitrose recorded a total sales increase of 5.9% on last year fuelled by a 461% uplift in barbecue lines.