The John Lewis Partnership had a week of mixed fortunes, with new year sales growth slower than expected at the department store business.

John Lewis’s department store division recorded a 2.2 per cent sales rise to£44.2 million in the week to February 2. The same week last year recorded a 7.6 year-on-year uplift.

John Lewis director of selling operations Nat Wakely said: It was a slightly slower start to the new year than we had hoped for.”

He said that the week was one of “ups and downs”, affected by the poor weather, which put customers off from travelling to out-of-town stores.

Fashion drove a strong week for John Lewis Direct, the retailer's multichannel arm, which generated an uplift of nearly 5 per cent.

John Lewis reported a record week for is sports ranges, with a 26 per cent increase above what the retailer expected as shoppers hit the new year battle against the bulge. Seasonal gifts were up 83 per cent as customers prepare for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter.

Supermarket stablemate Waitrose said it had made an “excellent” start to the new year, helped by the cold weather and Shrove Tuesday, as well as Valentine’s Day and Easter confectionery.

The grocer posted sales up 9.6 per cent to£76.71 million in the week to February 2.

Overall, sales at the John Lewis Partnership climbed 6.7 per cent to£120.92 million in the week to February 2, against a 13.5 per cent increase for the same week the year before.