Sales at John Lewis fell during the spring sunshine, while sales at Waitrose soared.

In the week to May 10, the department store chain reported a 4.3 per cent drop in sales to£46.98 million.

John Lewis added that comparisons against the previous year were tough, because the equivalent week was sunny. Retail operations director Patrick Lewis said: “Our overall sterling intake was in line with the average of the two previous weeks but, by the end of Saturday, we were below last year’s figure.”

Childrenswear and fashion were highlighted as star performers during the week with shoes in demand and girls summer dresses having a record week. Outdoor living also notched up high sales.

“We have slightly lighter figures against us for the next two weeks. If the weather breaks at the weekend, we’ll be more than ready to race back into the increases,” added Lewis.

By contrast, grocery division Waitrose’s sales increased 7.8 per cent to£78.43 million, aided by sales of barbecue lines, beers, salads and suntan lotion.

Total sales at the John Lewis Partnership were up 2.9 per cent to£125.42 million.