John Lewis results

John Lewis, the department store group, provided further evidence yesterday that consumers had held back on spending in the run-up to Christmas in order to hunt for bargains in the winter sales.

In the week ending 17 January, the group's department stores increased sales by 12.7 per cent on the same week the previous year. Like many retailers, John Lewis saw a late surge in spending in the final days before Christmas but has seen a significant upturn in trading since. Last week was dominated by strong sales in furnishings, with carpets and furniture, growing strongly. Audio and televisions also did well as did fitted kitchens. Sales at Waitrose, John Lewis' supermarket group, saw sales increase by 6.3 per cent in the week to 17 January.

- Nigel Cope