£18.3m taken on December 27
John Lewis had its best day on record, with the first day of the Sales on December 27 taking£18.3 million alone - a 10 per cent rise on 2005.

Sales reached£77 million for the week to January 2, a rise of 8.2 per cent on the previous year.

John Lewis director of retail operations Gareth Thomas said: 'In keeping with the theme of tumbling records, we took more money on the first day of clearance than we have ever taken before.'

Half price men's cashmere jumpers flew off the shelves, with one sold every two minutes - up 134 per cent on last year.

Getting healthy appears to be a new year's resolution for many and steamer, wok and pressure cooker sales were up 14 per cent on last year.

Pillows, rugs and cushions also flew off the shelves, with gifts, china, glass and toys performing strongly as well.