John Lewis has reported that sales rose 12% between Sunday to Wednesday this week, when there was a strong performance from stores and online.

John Lewis director of selling operations David Barford said: “We look forward with confidence to the rest of the week, provided the weather does not affect trading towards the weekend.”

He added: “At this time of year, we begin to prepare for an influx of ‘last-minute men’ who tend to dash into beauty and lingerie for their gifts in the final days before Christmas. Customers are also continuing to buy into the aspirational trend of sophisticated kitchen appliances. Items such as high-end food blenders and toasters are fast becoming a favourite gift for male gadget-lovers.”

Sales highlights include lingerie and Just Sheepskin slippers - a pair was sold every minute and sales were up 84% on last week.