John Lewis in Mother's Day boost

Sales at British retailer John Lewis were higher last week as Mother's Day, warmer weather and promotions drove a pick up in trade in a generally subdued retail environment.

"The combination of Mother's Day, price matching competitor activity and better spring weather gave sales a real boost with the week closing at up 12 per cent on the previous week and up 3.1 per cent on last year, the highest sterling sales of the half to date," the firm said on Friday.

The employee-owned group, which has long outperformed the broader retail sector, said department store sales were £60.9m in the week to 2 April, up from £59.9m in the same week last year.

John Lewis, Britain's biggest department store group, said weekly sales were up 1.4 per cent excluding the rise in VAT sales tax.