John Lewis defies winter's icy blasts

John Lewis managed to overcome the winter whiteout, with sales topping £100m last week at its stores across the UK

Heaters, nightwear and cold weather fashions helped lift takings at John Lewis last week, with sales topping 100 million despite the atrocious weather conditions.

The partnership, whose online operation was today gearing up for its busiest day of the year, said the weekly sales of 103.7m were up 1.2 per cent on the same week last year and 3.7 per cent ahead of the previous seven days.

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With a slight thaw setting in, Saturday saw one of the department store group's biggest trading days at almost 21m. There was no breakdown of individual store takings.

Maggie Porteous, head of selling operations, said: "The weather made last week a challenging one. It is a huge credit to all our partners that we have achieved such excellent sales despite the adverse conditions."

Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight, noted that the sales gains were well down on the week before. "Encouragingly, John Lewis reported that sales surged on Saturday, as conditions generally thawed," he added.