Rupert Thomas, commercial director of the supermarket chain, said: “Sales were impacted by Black Friday, which fell in the previous trading week last year and focused consumer attention towards general merchandise.”
He added: “Shoppers are getting into the festive spirit, with advent calendars and crackers proving popular. Christmas trees are now in stock, including a rosemary Christmas tree which can be re-used as an ingredient in festive dishes, ensuring nothing goes to waste.”
This alternative Christmas trees proved a popular purchase last year with environmentally-conscious consumers. Waitrose horticulture buyer Oliver O’Mara commented: “Our customers are passionate about shopping in a more sustainable way, seeking out products that are kind to the environment and that help them to reduce their own waste, especially at Christmas.
“Our Rosemary Christmas Trees aren’t just for decoration; the leaves can be used to flavour dishes over the holidays and then the tree can be planted outside when Christmas is over.”
Grown in Chichester, the Rosemary Christmas Trees are pruned to resemble the shape of a Christmas tree. Standing at around 30cm in height (just under a third of the size of an average Christmas tree) these aromatic miniature trees are edible and give the home a distinct refreshing fragrance.
Waitrose said the trend for rosemary Christmas trees started in America, where just as many are now bought compared with standard Christmas trees. Their needle-like leaves can be decorated to look just like their larger traditional counterparts. They can be used as a decoration in the lounge, placed on the kitchen window sill or even as a Christmas table centrepiece where guests can pick the tree’s leaves to garnish their own festive feast.
The retailer’s pot-grown Christmas Trees have also increased in popularity as shoppers look for more sustainable horticulture for the festive season, with sales up by over 35% over the last four years.