John Lewis and Waitrose both reported better weeks of trading, but the improved results were heavily influenced by the timing of Easter

John Lewis sales were up 5.8%, in the week to 9 April, or 7.3% including the higher rate of VAT. But the figures reflect an extra day’s trading as Easter Sunday fell in this week last year.

Even so, depite the influence of the extra day and higher VAT, only six branches managed a sales increase while 23 declined. The London stores again led the way, with Peter Jones up 21.1% and Oxford Street up 13.5%. Leicester, Cardiff and Bluewater all recorded double digit declines. continued to perform strongly with sales up 36.3%. Overall, fashion and home had a good week but electricals and home technology made its lowest sales of the year so far.

Waitrose too was helped by the calendar but its 24.5% increase (excluding petrol) was described as “a very strong performance, even taking into account the favourable timing of Easter,” according to retail director Tony Solomons. Outdoor products led the way, thanks to the sunny weather.