John Lewis has reported a “defiant” week of trading, but remains cautious as it braces itself to come up against tough comparatives from last year.

Sales at John Lewis department stores climbed 17.3 per cent in the week to April 12, helped by the cool, wet weather.

John Lewis said the figure equates to a 6 per cent rise against the comparable week last year, after stripping out the effect of the extra day’s trading against Easter Sunday 2007.

Sales at John Lewis’s electricals and home technology division rose 27 per cent, with a 10 per cent uplift in sales of large appliances.

John Lewis managing director Andy Street said: “With just one more week of different comparison against Easter last year, our headline score has advanced to 3 per cent, more respectable in the current climate, and we have certainly traded well over the Easter period. But the against figures are rising, so we need to exploit every single selling opportunity to sustain this form. We’re well placed to do so, but more defiance of the market is required.”

Overall sales at Waitrose climbed 17.4 per cent year on year, with like-for-likes up 14.1 per cent.

Total group sales at the John Lewis Partnership were up 17.3 per cent to£125.97 million