John Lewis
Easter sales at John Lewis stores soared by 27.5 percent on the previous year (Reuters)

John Lewis department stores have reported "stunning" Easter sales as they continue to buck an otherwise dismal retail market trend, as its sister company Waitrose hails one of its best ever Easters.

Poor weather drove consumers inside the shops, boosting the sales of almost all the staff-owned co-operative John Lewis Partnership stores, the parent company under which John Lewis and Waitrose falls, into double figure increases, with a notable contribution from sales of electrical and home technology goods.

"All in all it was a great week and a fantastic start to the Easter weekend on Friday and Saturday. Here's looking forward to us continuing to delight our customers in to the spring and beyond," David Barford, selling operations director at John Lewis, said.

Barford added that their trade was "superb" and the figures are a "stunning increase" when compared with the same period the year before.

Total sales for the Easter week were £66.73m, an increase of 27.5 percent on the year before.

Electrical and home technology goods saw a 59.1 percent increase on 2011's sales figure.

Among John Lewis's full-line stores Leicester delivered a 42.4 percent, the highest increase, with Bluewater in second place at 37.9 percent, and the Trafford store in third at 33.4 percent.

John Lewis's home stores also saw big leaps, with an increase of 65.8 percent on the previous year from the top performer in the category, Poole.

Supermarket chain Waitrose saw its sales hit £125.63m, a 26.2 percent rise on the previous year.

Medium-sized chickens had a "phenomenal" increase of 600 percent in comparative sales.

"It was great to see strong trade towards the end of the week driven by extending our trading hours on Good Friday, which our customers really appreciated," Rob Collins, retail director at Waitrose, said.

The supermarket also saw a 962 percent increase in sales of its own range of fake tanning products.

Over Christmas John Lewis stores achieved £596m in total sales, reporting their biggest week ever in the week leading to 17 December, which saw them rake in £133.1m.

Profits fell across 2011 however, by 3.8 percent to £353.8m.

Under the co-operative setup, all staff are shareholders and so take a share of the profits as an annual bonus.

Because of the profit decline the staff bonus fell 4 percent, though staff still enjoyed a 14 percent bonus.