JOHN Lewis today revealed department store sales jumped 19% last week as the retailer maintained its strong start to 2010.

In a further sign that economic and political uncertainty has failed to put the brakes on spending, John Lewis ended a "hugely successful" Easter holiday period with sales of £51.3 million for the week to last Saturday.

And as the company’s first quarter draws to a close, John Lewis said there was "plenty of satisfaction at a very strong start to 2010".

The arrival of better weather lifted fashion sales by 27% last week, while outdoor toys, sunglasses and sandals were also in demand.

The chain’s London stores delivered a strong performance following growth of around 30% at Oxford Street and Peter Jones at Sloane Square. also enjoyed a busy week with sales up 39.7%.

Meanwhile, sales at supermarket operation Waitrose were up 27% after receiving a warm weather boost.