John Lewis department stores suffered a drop in sales after warm weather last week kept customers away from its shops.

Sales fell 4.5 per cent at John Lewis compared with last year to£45.8 million despite a strong performance at its Oxford Street store, which was ahead 8.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

For the first six months of this year, the retailer said sales were ahead by 0.6 per cent year on year.

John Lewis director of selling operations Dan Knowles said: “Although sales have been harder to come by than we would have liked – and indeed planned for – we should nonetheless take pride in having grown sales year on year [for the first half].”

He added: “There is all to play for in the second half of the year and we can feel full of confidence in our determination and ability to trade well in this tough market.”

However, the warm weather helped sales at Waitrose, which achieved a 3.8 per cent increase in sales for the week.

Waitrose said that increased demand for salads, delicatessen, soft fruit, beers and barbecue products contributed to the sales uplift.