A “week of two halves” resulted in satisfactory results for John Lewis but the department store chain’s overall sales remain down on last year.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday ran consistently at a disappointing -9% on third week of August records, but the second half of the week picked up, largely due to the deterioration of the weather.

Overall, the partnership declared itself down 2% on this time last year, with a turnover of £47.09m.

But John Lewis Direct continued to impress with double-digit growth across all three main buying directorates, producing 22% growth on last year.

Two stores, Cambridge and Reading, beat last year’s numbers, at 2.2% and 1% respectively. Textiles and carpets and fashions proved strong categories for Cambridge, while Reading excelled in furniture and childrenswear.

Back to School continues boosted performance, and associated sales growing week on week. Further growth is expected with the new term beginning in a fortnight.

However sister supermarket chain Waitrose continued to do well. Sales rose 9.5% with outdoor food doing well thanks to the fine weather, and alcoholic drinks being helped by England’s Ashes triumph.