Despite trading against a period of strong promotional activity last year, total sales excluding petrol for last week (to November 8) were up 3.4% at Waitrose.
The supermarket chain’s Christmas advert – which tells the story of a little girl being helped by a Waitrose staff member to make gingerbread for her school fayre – premiered during the period, and Waitrose claims the campaign inspired gingerbread baking across the country, with its £5 gingerbread activity kit ‘selling like hot cakes’ and key gingerbread ingredients being snapped up, including dried ginger, which was 19% up compared to last year. The ad features a unique soundtrack, sung entirely by members of the public.
Waitrose supply chain director David Jones said: “With six weeks until Christmas we are seeing organised shoppers starting to get prepared. Many took the opportunity of special offers last week to stock up on Christmas crackers, up by 14%, and stollen, up by 40%. We have so far sold 14% more Christmas cakes than we had at this time last year. Our Christmas gifts range was up by 14% for the week compared with last year. The most popular gift is a biscuit tin shaped like a retro radio.
“And we are seeing a huge response this year to our ‘create your own gift box’: a £5 wooden crate to fill with hamper gift food. Sales are currently 10 times higher than this time last year, suggesting that personalised presents will be a big theme this season.”