Strong promotional activity resulted in divisional sales – excluding petrol – up 4.2% on last year for Waitrose in the week to August 23.
The grocery chain’s marketing director Rupert Thomas said: “‘The Great British Bake Off’ continues to encourage people to try their hand at baking and sales of flour have risen by 19%. Last week’s episode [of the BBC TV series] saw contestants tackle bread, pushing up sales of active dried yeast by 60%, and spelt and rye up 43 and 18% respectively. Fans also flocked to the Waitrose website to look up new recipes for Fruity Pistachio and Fennel and Olive Bread.”
Shoppers also found an appetite for European flavours following Waitrose’s Taste of Italy promotion, which prompted pasta and sauce sales to increase by 33% and Italian wine sales to leap up 31% year-on-year.
And as the weather took a turn for the worse, customers stocked up on packet soup (up 25%) hot beverages (up 23%) and tea (up 21%). Sales of pizza increased by 27% and pre-packed meals topped 13% year-on-year, “perhaps driven by sports fans who stayed in to enjoy the Belgian Grand Prix,” Rupert Thomas suggested.