John Lewis has reported a 5.6% rise in sales in the week ending August 1, crediting increased footfall, the weather and the trend towards ‘staycations’.

The department store group’s online operation John Lewis Direct was up 22.8% year-on-year.

Across the group’s 27 stores, front-running deparments were bedrooms (up 36%), upholstery (26%), furniture and lighting (19%), living and dining room (18%), and gifts and decorative accessories (12%).

It is hoped that the new John Lewis food hall at the Bluewater shopping centre, now in its second day of trading, will prove a particular hit.

John Lewis spokesman David Barford said: “It’s really encouraging to see some stronger performances against last year. However, a note of caution as we start to move into bad-weather comparisons with last year.”

Meanwhile, Waitrose supermarkets recorded sales up 9.5 per cent on the same week in 2008.

As many schools had their first full week off for the summer, rural areas have benefited from increased footfall thanks to British ‘staycations’, said Waitrose commercial director Richard Hodgson.s

Hodgson said customers’ shopping habits had become “decidedly wintry”, with hosiery sales up 54 per cent, hot drinks up 42 per cent, and ready-meals up 21 per cent on the same week in 2008.

The site is expected to do well after going live with a John Lewis homeware range. The new Homeshop service offers 2,000 homeware products, rising to 2,400 as the service expands.