John Lewis' weekly sales figures for up to 19 April show a 20.5% increase on sales this time last year, an 8% increase on the 12 weeks up to 19th April 2013 and a 23% increase in online sales compared to the same week last year. In contrast to last year, the week running up to Easter saw spring weather lure many customers to the British countryside. Nevertheless, it still achieved a substantial increase on last year, with shops and online advancing in tandem. Moreover, the month of April is shaping up to be pretty strong overall.

The highlight of the week was a first full account from York. The team here, helped by supporters from across the country, posted an admirable return, with the promise of lots more to come. Excellent growth was registered across the at home group with Ipswich, Swindon, Chester, Croydon and Newbury all clearing 40%.

For the full line shops, the power of refurbishment shone through with Milton Keynes posting an impressive result, closely followed by Stratford, High Wycombe, Norwich, and a good-looking Leicester increase.

For the Buying Groups, EHT led the headline numbers, but arguably Home's 19% increase showed most optimism. Inevitably Easter gifting lifted trade, but it was another steady build in Furniture and Furnishings that stood out, confirming John Lewis' sense of opportunity in a strengthening market.

Last week also saw the next stages of its 150-year commemoration taking shape. With just 10 days to go until the anniversary, the story of John and Spedan Lewis is being told across the media, and plans are in place to share its story with customers from next weekend.