John Lewis enjoys strong bank holiday sales

UPMARKET department store John Lewis saw sales rise by a quarter last week as customers rushed to the shops over the Easter weekend.

Bank holiday buyers pushed up sales by 23.1 per cent to £76.7m, driven by a strong performance in the electricals and technology department. Home sales grew 22.5 per cent, although clothing sales edged up just 4.6 per cent.

"Fashion was hit the most by the cold weather, with customers bypassing summer product such as sandals and heading for winter knitwear and women's boots," said John Lewis' Susan Young.

Meanwhile sister supermarket chain Waitrose saw its biggest week ever outside of Christmas as total sales (excluding petrol) hit £140.7m last week, as shoppers stocked up for the long weekend.