John Lewis bounced back from recent tough trading to record a strong performance in the week before Easter and sister grocery chain Waitrose also fared well.

In the week to March 22, John Lewis department stores recorded a 6.4 per cent rise in sales, a big improvement on the 1.8 per cent increase for the preceding seven weeks. All but four John Lewis stores recorded sales rises. Menswear, sports, lighting and vision were the strongest performers, while homewares recovered.

Easter performance was extremely strong, with Good Friday up 29 per cent and Easter Monday up 33 per cent compared with Easter weekend of 2007. Shopping centre stores such as Bluewater, Cribbs Causeway and Southampton all did well, with the inclement weather doubtless helping drive visits.

Waitrose recorded a 27.6 per cent rise in sales on the same week in 2007, helped by Easter. Its sales are up 10 per cent for the first ten weeks of its financial year as a whole.