Mothering Sunday and the hottest weekend of the year so far saw a good performance for Waitrose in the week to March 29.
Waitrose commercial director Mark Williamson said: “Year-on-year comparisons are heavily distorted by the fall of Easter last year. Our sales performance (excluding petrol) saw a year-on-year fall of 7.9%. However, this was entirely in line with our expectations, as the trading week is being compared to the pre-Easter week last year – traditionally one of the busiest periods of the year. A more meaningful comparison would be with the week leading up to Mother’s Day last year with sales (excluding petrol) up 8.5%.
“This week our customers showed how much they appreciated their mums. Gift sales rose by a staggering 95% while card sales were up 27% year on year, and Mother’s Day flowers and plants were up 31.5% from the equivalent last year. Other popular gifts included candles – up 21% – and vases which surged by an incredible 43%.”
The sunshine also sparked an uplift in alfresco eating. Sales of barbecue food saw 27% growth and bags of charcoal were also up 80% year-on-year. Handheld ice cream sales shot up by 70% and sales of frozen yoghurt and desserts increased by 33% and 15% week-on-week respectively.
“Preparations for Easter are already well under way,” Mark Williamson noted. “Sales of hot cross buns were 21% up on the same period last year and the new limited-edition Heston Egg got off to a cracking start.