Mothering Sunday and the hottest weekend of the year so far saw a good performance for Waitrose in the week to March 29.

Alfresco dining and gifts for mum top shopping lists at Waitrose

Mothering Sunday and the hottest weekend of the year so far saw a good performance for Waitrose in the week to March 29.

Alfresco dining and gifts for mum top shopping lists at Waitrose

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.

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