But rise is lower than same week last year

John Lewis posted healthy weekly sales for the week to August 18, as the return of wet weather helped drive footfall into the department stores.

The department store’s sales rose by 4.4 per cent, a£5 million uplift on the previous week. However, the weekly increase was much lower than the 24.5 per cent jump it recorded for the same week last year.

John Lewis managing director Andy Street said: “No doubt the resumption of the normal British summer helped us out.” However, he said that three weeks into the second half of its financial year it had only registered a slim 1.3 per cent sales increase on last year, which means it will have to “concentrate particularly hard on exploiting the mini peak provided by back to school over the coming fortnight”.

The performance of John Lewis Direct was slightly lower than expected, street said, but the relaunch of its web site next week should provide a boost.

John Lewis Partnership’s Waitrose supermarkets also posted an increase in sales, although the autumnal weather kept them at a modest level. Waitrose’s sales for the week to August 18 rose 5.8 per cent, although this was much lower than the 16.7 per cent leap it recorded for the same week last year. Waitrose said it was a quieter trading week because of the unseasonal weather and the fact it was a peak week for people taking holidays.

However, it is optimistic about the prospect of warmer weather this weekend.