John Lewis sales surged 23.1% last week despite the coldest March in 50 years having a “dramatic effect” on the department store’s sales pattern.

John Lewis stablemate Waitrose also reported a strong performance, recording its biggest ever week outside of Christmas as shoppers stocked up on Easter goodies.

John Lewis said its varied assortment provided customers with “choices to suit every eventuality” while it benefitted from Easter footfall in stores.

Online sales increased 14.6% driven by its Price Match and Double Points promotion over the weekend on the partnership card.

Fashion was hit the most by the cold weather, although sales in the category were still up 4.6%. Shoppers bypassed summer product such as sandals and opted for winter knitwear and women’s boots, which performed 16 times better than last year.

Sales on autumn/winter fashion product were up 12%. Price match activity drove an 18% surge in beauty.

Cooking and dining enjoyed a record week as Easter footfall drove sales up 11%. Gift food and seasonal were up 31% on Easter product.

Electricals and home technology was the best performing category with sales rocketing 47%, driven by a strong performance in headphones and vision.

John Lewis head of merchandising, central operations Susan Young said: “With the school holidays in full swing, and the Shop Spring campaign under way, we are confident of a good performance across the board.

“Although it’s still on the chilly side, we have begun to see a glimpse of sunshine which should encourage customers to venture into our summer product and start thinking about spending more time outdoors. Stock and availability remains in a good position to support this footfall.”

In the week to March 30 Waitrose sales jumped 33.9% to £140.7m when compared with the same week last year. When comparing it with Easter 2012, sales at the upmarket grocer were up 14.8%. also had a record breaking week with sales up 57.8% compared to the Easter week last year as shoppers “appreciated the option to shop from the comfort of their own home in the unseasonably chilly weather”, said David Jones, supply chain director at Waitrose.

Easter confectionery had its strongest ever week, with sales up 29% compared with the Easter week last year.