Variable weather hits Waitrose sales

Cold weather foods drove many in-store and online purchases for Waitrose last week (to Saturday July 22), as the trading period compared against the hottest week of the year in 2016.

The supermarket chain’s retail director Ben Stimson said: “Variable weather led to total sales for the week falling 1.1%, with the strongest growth in products usually associated with winter months.”

This included prepared meals, which were up by 14% on last year, soup (up 18%), and hot drinks (up 8%). In-store cafes also saw a 7% increase in sales.

Last week Waitrose announced that it will be selling North Sea Cod again for the first time in 18 years. The grocer was one of the first to stop selling UK cod nearly two decades ago over concerns about declining stocks.

But six Scottish and 50 English branches of Waitrose will now sell skinless fillets of North Sea cod with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) ‘blue tick’ label, signifying that the fish has reached the MSC standard for sustainable and well-managed fishing.

The retailer has also announced a tie-up with the Marine Conservation Society to fight plastic beach pollution. Waitrose and the charity aim to get more people than ever before involved in a series of events to clean and record litter from England’s beaches and rivers.

Waitrose is donating £500,000 from its carrier bag fund to MCS, who will organise around 1,000 beach and river clean-ups during 2017/18.

Plastic carrier bag levy funds raised in England can only be spent in England, so only English beach and river cleans are being sponsored by Waitrose. Funds raised from the plastic carrier bag levy in the rest of the UK are pledged to other charitable causes in Scotland and Wales.

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