Department store group John Lewis reported a fall in weekly sales of 2.4 per cent as continued uncertainty in the economy and the poor weather hit trade.

John Lewis said it had a tough start to the week ending August 23 but ended with a strong performance on Saturday, when trade was up nearly 3 per cent on last year. Sales increased particularly at the retailer’s stores in Aberdeen, London’s Oxford Street, Edinburgh and the Trafford Centre.

Trade was tough elsewhere. Bluewater was down 11.5 per cent, Brent Cross down 16 per cent and Peterborough down 20.2 per cent.

John Lewis head of supply chain and administration Andy Banks said: “With Leicester’s opening less than a week away, many branches have been making a big effort to provide final training. With Liverpool and Cambridge continuing to perform above expectations, all is in place to see this trend continue at Leicester.”

Waitrose sales were up 1.9 per cent for the week, as the music festival season drove trading at its Reading and Caversham stores in Berkshire, and its Bayswater shop in West London benefited from the Notting Hill Carnival.

Overall, sales at John Lewis Partnership were up 0.1 per cent for the week, on sales up 4.9 per cent for the previous week.