John Lewis said total sales surged 12% to £88m in the week to Saturday, after a strong performance from cold weather clothing.

The figure is 14% higher than the previous week. John Lewis said that trading during the seven days to November 20 was “excellent” against strong comparatives with the same week a year ago. Sales were up 29% on two years ago.

John Lewis head of operational development Lesley Ballantyne said: “We are delighted with last week’s excellent result, particularly as we are up against very strong figures from last year.

“The colder weather has encouraged customers to purchase from our fashion departments - gloves, hats and scarves are top performers.Gift buying has really taken off, with gift food proving particularly popular. There is also real evidence that customers are continuing to get their homes ready for Christmas.”

The department store also said online sales would break the £500m barrier this year, the same target set by rival Marks & Spencer in its 2010-2011 year. John Lewis’ online strength has been driven by the successful launch of its fashion offer on in September 2009.

The John Lewis website offers more than 150,000 products and now attracts more than 3 million unique visitors a week. The retailer is set to launch an overseas delivery service next year that will initially cover parts of Europe.

The department store forecasted that Monday December 6 would be its busiest online shopping day of the year.

At supermarket chain Waitrose, which is also part of the John Lewis Partnership, sales of £98 million were 8% higher than a year earlier.