John Lewis has delivered a barnstorming start to its clearance with weekly sales soaring 27.4 per cent on the previous year.

For the week ending January 3, John Lewis Direct achieved its fourth highest week to date and smashed last year’s Sale performance.

The results will offer some comfort from the high street, which saw huge discounting and many chains fall into administration in the run-up to Christmas.

The highest double digit sales increases came from John Lewis' Cambridge store, which was up more than 40 per cent. The Reading, Welwyn and Newcastle stores all posted sales jumps in excess of 30 per cent.

John Lewis said fashion had strong sales and home technology achieved a record week for large electrical appliances.

John Lewis head of selling development Barry Matheson said: “Customers have clearly been attracted by our commitment to being Never Knowingly Undersold, even during competitors’ Sales, and the combined efforts of the merchandising teams and partners in our warehouses have worked exceptionally well to capitalise on that.”

Stablemate grocer Waitrose reported sales up 7 per cent for the week ending January 3, driven by party food and Champagne. The cold weather also drove up sales of meat and root vegetables.

The John Lewis Partnership reported sales up 16.1 per cent for the week.