John Lewis has reported that sales slipped in the last week of January, but stressed that the month as a whole had been “hugely fruitful”.

In the last weekly report of its trading year John Lewis said sales for the week ending January 31 were£43.51m, down 1.6 per cent on the equivalent week last year.

For January as a whole, sales at the department store group increased 7.8 per cent year on year.

Fashion was the group’s most successful department, with the retailer crediting demand for both cold weather and new season's clothing.

For the week the retailer’s internet and catalogue operation, John Lewis Direct, experienced a 19 per cent increase in sales on last year.

John Lewis managing director Andy Street said: “We close an unprecedented year in good shape.”

For the full year, which was 53 weeks against 52 in 2007-2008, John Lewis shows sales up 0.3 per cent.

Grocer Waitrose reported a sales of£77.59m for the week, an increase of 1.2 per cent.

The week saw the grocer win a Which? shopping survey and complete its meal deal promotion.

In addition, the threat of the snow that arrived the following week help lift sales, according to Waitrose managing director Mark Price.

For the John Lewis Partnership as a whole, sales were up 0.2 per cent to£121.09m.