Waitrose registered a like-for-like increase in sales of 4.1% for the five weeks to 5 January 2008, with total sales up by 6.1%, parent company John Lewis Partnership said this week.

John Lewis stores also traded strongly, with like-for-like sales up 6.2% and total sales up 7.6%. "I'm pleased with the performance of the divisions, particularly in the context of the demanding conditions we faced in this important trading period," said Charlie Mayfield, JLP chairman.

However, tough times were still ahead, he warned. "Looking ahead, we expect the trading environment to continue to be very challenging this year."