Divisional sales, excluding petrol, were up 1% for Waitrose last week to July 18.
The grocery chain’s supply chain director David Jones
described the performance as “good versus tough comparatives, as in the same week last year the nation was making the most of a heatwave”.
As school terms draw to an end and long summer holidays approach, Waitrose saw a sharp rise in the sales of thank you gifts for teachers from grateful pupils and parents.
Sales of giftwrap took off, soaring 42%. The supermarket multiple’s range of houseplants had a 17% spike in demand – its highest week’s sales outside Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas and Easter. Mini orchids proved popular, with demand up 36%, and cut flowers were up 8.5%. Confectionery and cakes were also favourites: demand for cakes climbed 13%, while boxes of chocolate saw demand surge 45%.
The week also saw a relative rise in demand for goods typically popular in cooler weather. Sales of soup and coffee jumped by nearly a fifth while speciality vegetables such as tender stem broccoli were highly sought after, with demand surging by a third.
Cafés and hospitality areas saw very strong growth with hot beverages up 50%, while hot food was up by 23%. And whiskies, often associated with cold winter nights, enjoyed a 22% increase in demand, with customers trying different styles such as bourbon.
Finally, the British crop of cherries has arrived on Waitrose shelves, helping demand for the fruit rocket 27%.