John Lewis reported a 9.3 per cent sales uplift week on week and 4.5 per cent year on year for the week to Saturday December 1.

Womenswear, audio and TV departments drove sales. The department store group reported that sales of its little black prom dress and strong luggage sales ahead of the holiday period added to the performance.

John Lewis director of selling operations Dan Knowles said: “We are very encouraged by our sales in womenswear this week, which highlight that increasingly shoppers are seeing John Lewis as a fashion destination. It also looks as though this will be a sociable Christmas as sales show families are investing in home entertainment systems. Many haven’t been put off by England’s recent performance on the pitch either – football tables are proving to be a hugely popular purchase for Christmas 2007.”

Pali International analyst Nick Bubb said: “Ahead of the key Christmas trading season, everybody is still closely watching that key indicator, the weekly John Lewis department store sales.

He added: “As we flagged last week, the risk for John Lewis was that the cold weather in mid-November simply brought forward business from this month. The comps now get a bit tougher, so though the John Lewis Partnership may well be doing better than average, thanks to its excellent online operation, Christmas isn’t in the bag yet.”