John Lewis
Britain's biggest department store chain John Lewis said its sales were up because of the rain (Reuters)

John Lewis saw a significant boom in sales growth last week as unseasonably cold and wet weather drove Britons into its stores.

Sales at the nation's biggest department store chain grew by 32.4 percent compared to the same week the year before, with homeware and home electricals performing particularly well, though the company noted that royal wedding and 2011's Easter Sunday date made for favourable comparative factors.

Ed Connolly, a buying director at John Lewis, hailed a "very strong week's sales ... continuing a terrific first quarter".

Home goods at the employee co-operative saw sales leap 25 percent compared with week 13 the year before, with sales of lighting products growing 51 percent alone.

Fashion sales were up 18.6 percent with the bad weather boosting men's outwear clothing, though sales of sandals and sunglasses plummeted 60 percent.

Electricals and home technology sales soared by 62.6 percent "the best number of the year so far and a positive set of figures from all areas of the assortment," said Connolly.

Online sales at grew a whopping 69.4 percent on the previous year, compared with a 44.1 percent rise in 2011.

Stand-out individual store performance came from Croydon, whose sales grew 57.3 percent on the year, compared with 18.2 percent growth the previous year.

John Lewis has performed consistently well in spite of a rough trading climate for retailers, as consumers are hit by the rising cost of living and high unemployment, dampening purchasing power and confidence.

Over Easter it reported "stunning" sales after its "outstanding" Christmas trading.