The supermarket chain’s commercial director Rupert Thomas said: “Colder and rainy weather led to sales of warming food, including gravy up 20% and canned soup up 38%. Hot cross buns also had a boost – up 40%.
“Father’s Day celebrations led to strong sales of treats, including Heston’s Chocolate Scotch Egg. The new Tomahawk steak, a flavoursome cut of beef, also proved popular with shoppers.
“With the cheese counter performing well, up 2.7%, we unveiled plans to launch a pilot to raise the expertise of our Partners [staff] working on service counters to an even higher level.
“The longer term ambition is to train a further 200 existing Partners over the next two years. For the butchery course this will include detailed knowledge of a wide range of cuts of meat, cooking techniques and butchery skills. The fishmonger course will include knowledge of a wide variety of species, sustainability and skilled filleting techniques.”