John Lewis has ended its falling sales trend with a strong week for its clearance Sale, recording sales up 5.9 per cent for the week to July 12.

The retailer said about half its department stores were up on last year and out-of-town shopping was also getting stronger. The best performances were at its London Oxford Street, Aberdeen, Milton Keynes and Bluewater stores.

Theer were improvements across categories as cash-strapped shoppers rushed to grab a bargain. Womenswear was up 16 per cent and there were uplifts in soft furnishings and electricals. The core furnishings offer suffered, but John Lewis said its sales were much closer to the previous year than it had seen in recent weeks.

John Lewis had suffered a series of slumps in trading over the past eight weeks, as it felt the effects of the credit crunch and consumer downturn.

Sales at grocer stablemate Waitrose were up 1.2 per cent for the week against last year. The trend of shoppers dining well at home rather than going to restaurants continued, with sales of the retailer’s As Good as Going Out ready-meal range up 38 per cent.

Overall, the John Lewis Partnership recorded a sales uplift of 3.2 per cent to£130.79 million.