John Lewis sales fell on a VAT-exclusive basis last week, but Waitrose continued to grow its sales strongly.

In the seven days to 24 September, John Lewis sales were down 1.7% excluding VAT, or up 0.1% with the higher rate of VAT included. All but two of the stores - Sheffield and Poole - recorded a decline in sales, with nine stores showing double-digit declines. Bluewater showed the biggest fall, down 17.4%. Online sales were up 21.4%, their smallest increase for September.

Director Nat Wakely said the milder weather at the end of the week hit footfall. Fashion and home sales both fell, with knitwear and big-ticket furniture particularly weak. Electricals and home technology was the best performing buying group.

Wakely said the new store at Stratford was experiencing particularly strong weekend trade, and doing well on electricals and home technology, and menswear.

At Waitrose sales were up 8.8%, below the 9.9% for the half-year so far. The sunny weather boosted sales of Summer ranges like sun cream, ice cream, soft drinks and cider. Fish and seafood did well too.