John Lewis reports "stunning" Easter week

Britain's biggest department store chain John Lewis said it enjoyed a "stunning" week's trade in the seven days to Easter Saturday as poor weather made shopping an attractive pursuit.

The employee-owned retailer said on Friday its sales jumped 27.5 per cent year-on-year to £66.7m in the week to 7 April.

"In comparison with the Good Friday week last year we delivered a stunning increase of 25 per cent," the firm said.

"The vast majority of our branches delivered double-figure increases with the poorer weather at the end of the week driving customers into shops."

Sales in the electricals and home technology category soared 59.1 per cent, reflecting demand for the new iPad and also for TVs ahead of London and the south of England's digital switchover.

Fashion sales were up 17.6 per cent, while sales in the home category were up 16.3 per cent.

John Lewis has been outperforming the wider retail market as its more affluent customers have been less impacted by the economic downturn.

"This was an excellent performance by John Lewis that lifts hopes that consumers may prove more robust than feared over the coming months and help the economy return to sustainable growth," said Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Global Insight.