Total divisional sales – excluding petrol – for last week (to March 28) were 0.6% lower than last year at Waitrose.
The grocery multiple’s retail director Rob Collins commented: “Early preparation for Easter helped drive sales, despite tough comparatives with the same week last year which included the build-up to Mother’s Day. Shoppers are clearly getting ready for Easter earlier than ever.
“We’ve sold thousands of Easter bonnets and chocolates as sales of seasonal lines increased by 16% compared to the same trading week a fortnight before Easter last year. Hot cross bun sales were up nearly 26% with our traditional richly fruited variety remaining our best seller as sales rose by 48%.”
Home baking sales were up almost 5% last week, including Waitrose Canadian Strong flour, sales of which were up by 43%, and dried fruit, which went up by 16%, suggesting customers are making their own hot cross buns, too. Sales of cleaning products shone too, as households prepared to entertain family and friends over the bank holiday weekend.
The week ended with a new branch opening at Wollaton in Nottinghamshire.