John Lewis recorded a dip in sales last week, when there was one less trading day than usual because of the New Year’s Day bank holiday.
Total sales for the week ending January 7 slipped 2.25 with fashion sales falling 5.2%.
Online sales were up 19.7% but sales at all 32 stores for which figures are given were down.
Managing director Andy Street said: “In our first trading week in 2012, the headline sales performance was the result of one less trading day, and actually masked some very promising individual daily sales.
“Customers continued to respond very positively to our clearance package and we achieved double-digit percentage increases on both ‘reduced to clear’ and ‘special buy’ stock. As we have been planning for our biggest ever clearance, availability is sufficient for continued strong results on red ticket.”