John Lewis sales up 7.6pc

Department store John Lewis shrugged off the impact of Britain's freezing weather conditions today when it revealed a 7.6% hike in festive sales.

The group notched up sales of 545 million in the five weeks to January 1 as online buying soared during the first snowfall.

Then shop trade took over as shoppers sought the reassurance of having goods in their hands.

John Lewis said total sales rose 8.9% - by 7.6% on a same-store basis - while online sales rose 42% on last year and have now reached more than 500 million for the year to date.