John Lewis weekly sales were down 17.1 per cent as the snow heavily affected trade across the country.

For the week ending February 7, the department store retailer said the snow, which brought London to a virtual standstill, made any assessment of sales very challenging.

London and the Southeast were the most badly affected at the beginning of the week and later it affected the Southwest, the Midlands and parts of Scotland. London’s Oxford Street was down 21.3 per cent, while Bristol's Cribbs Causeway was down 37.7 per cent, Milton Keynes was down 39.4 per cent and Peterborough was down 30 per cent.

Sales of cold weather accessories such as gloves and scarves benefited from the weather and as the snow eased on Saturday sales rebounded to give an increase for the day.

John Lewis head of selling development Barry Matheson said: “There were numerous tales of partners making truly heroic efforts to come into work and more than one branch reported a Dunkirk spirit among partners who had made it in with every intention of keeping their shops open as long as they could.”

Sales at Waitrose for the week were up 3.6 per cent. The grocer said the snowfall was very challenging but it had had a successful week.
Overall, the John Lewis Partnership reported a drop in weekly sales of 4 per cent.