Sales at John Lewis department stores are up over 20% for the period of Sunday to Wednesday this week compared with the same time last year, boosted by strong performance in Christmas gifts lines.

If the upturn continues through the weekend, the department store group said it would be the strongest year-on-year upturn so far this year, indicating potential for strong trading throughout the pre-Christmas period.

John Lewis’s director of operational development Andrew Murphy said: “These figures reflect some really heavy customer spending on technology products and home ranges over the last four days, as gift buying moves into top gear and preparing the home for a traditional family Christmas becomes a priority.”

In its fashion division, John Lewis said own-brand cashmere is proving a popular present with men’s jumpers up 70% on last year.

Sales of ski hats, gloves and headbands were up 10% on last week as shoppers prepare for winter holidays.