Comfort food and race celebrations drive Waitrose sales

Sales (excluding petrol) were up 10.3% for Waitrose in the week to March 30, compared to the equivalent post-Easter week last year, driven by comfort foods and the excitement of the Grand National.

Compared with the same trading week last year (week 10) sales were down by 17.8%, heavily distorted by the fall of Easter and bank holiday Monday. Waitrose said a more meaningful picture is provided by looking at the whole Easter fortnight when sales for the equivalent period rose 12.7%.

Racing fans were in celebratory mood after the National, with Champagne sales up 13.5%, while sparkling wines jumped by nearly 32%.

The colder weather had a huge effect on sales too, as shoppers filled their baskets with warming food. Sales of fresh soups surged 53%, while roasting beef was up by 44% and free-range poultry by 30%.

Retail director Rob Collins said customers also sought comfort from the wintry temperatures with fish and chips. Cod in a bag produced Waitrose’s biggest ever sales on the fish counter and oven chips were up by a massive 39%.

He added that sales at the supermarket chain’s new Little Waitrose shop in Vauxhall, which opened last week, were “well ahead of expectations”. Next week, Waitrose opens its third Dubai store at Al Thanya building, on the success of its two existing stores, where sales for the week were up 15% on last year.

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