While divisional sales (excluding petrol) were flat in the week to January 16 for Waitrose compared with the same week last year, affordable fine dining – combined with promotions – delivered strong sales growth across a number of categories, according to the grocery chain.
Personnel director Helen Hyde said more and more customers are choosing from its premium range of restaurant-quality ready meals when it comes to dining at home. Favourites such as cottage pie, beef bourguignon and fish pie were all up by 19%, while shepherd’s pie and lasagne dishes were up by 37% and 41% respectively.
Boosted by a promotion, fish counter sales flourished too, up 11% compared to the same week last year. White fish sales were up 43%, salmon and trout sales leapt by 30%, smoked fish was up by 24% and oily fish sales were up by 224%.
Waitrose also saw “massive uplifts” of individual lines, including smoked cod, up 214%, Alaskan salmon, up 101%, and Cornish sardines, up by 108%.
Customers were also purchasing lines traditionally associated with more affordable luxury dining. Shellfish sales jumped by 37%, exotic fish sales grew by 19% and caviar sales increased by 29%.
Helen Hyde added that venison saw big increases, too, with sales rising by 36%.“Its growing popularity has led to us increasing the number of products we stock, as well as making them available in more branches than ever,” she said.
Elsewhere, the colder weather led to shoppers seeking out warming British dishes. Sales of Waitrose Chicken Pie (210g) were up by more than 50%, Waitrose Roast Chicken Pie (550g) sales were up by almost 22% and sales of the Waitrose Aberdeen Angus Steak and Ale Pie (550g) were up by more than 15%.