Waitrose recorded a sales increase of over 40 per cent in the week to December 27, while sales fell at most of sister department store chain John Lewis's stores.

The Waitrose sales increase of 40.6 per cent took sales for the week to£112.29 million, and the week included the biggest single trading day in the grocer's history.

The strength of the Christmas week is in stark contrast to Waitrose's performance for the first 21 weeks of its financial year, which have been up just 0.8 per cent overall.

John Lewis's performance was more muted, up 1.2 per cent compared to the same week last year, but again this was a better performance than the negative figures recorded for much of the year so far. A strong performance from electricals and technology led the way, and the post Christmas Clearance had a record first day.

12 shops enjoyed record days. Nevertheless, of the stores open more than a year, 18 out of 26 suffered sales declines, including online, down 7.3 per cent. The Cribbs Causeway store in Bristol recorded a 21 per cent sales fall.