Department store chain John Lewis generated a 7.2% sales rise to £59.5m last week, which it described as “probably the most challenging” of the half-year so far.

On a two-year basis there was a 22.5% increase in turnover, but performance was hampered by the Tube strike in London and warm weather which both hit footfall.

The electrical and home technology goods delivered the best week’s performance so far, and advanced 9.6% in the period to October 9. White goods were in particular demand.

Fashion sales rose 6.1% and home goods were ahead 7.1%.

Turnover at the John Lewis Direct business rocketed 46%. John Lewis buying and brand director Peter Ruis said: “The fantastically strong direct sales must give us confidence that consumer spending is still strong despite the potential impact of the upcoming public sector cuts.”

Sales at grocer Waitrose climbed 9.6% over the week to £92.8m as it benefited from the warm weather which knocked sister chain John Lewis. The brief Indian summer boosted demand for products such as salads and light foods.