National Curry Week, The Great British Bake Off effect and the onset of autumnal weather inspired an ‘excellent week’ for Waitrose, with divisional sales (excluding petrol) up 7.1% in the week to October 12.
The celebration of one of the nation’s favourite dishes triggered sizzling sales of Indian ready meals for the upmarket grocery chain. Sales of Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients curry pastes fired up too, with rogan josh, makhani and keralan all up by nearly 75% year-on-year, while Waitrose mango chutneys were up by 30%.
The judges of BBC2’s Great British Bake Off, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, are continuing to encourage the nation’s bakers. Sales of essential Waitrose eggs were up 18%, ready-made pastry by 26% and sugar by 19%. Traditional cooking fruits were up by more than 15%, bread mixes up 19% and mincemeat up almost 55%.
Cooler temperatures have also impacted sales. Slow-cook meat sales, for example, were up by a huge 71%. Vegetable accompaniments also shot up by 40%.
Waitrose retail director Rob Collins said: “Halloween is quickly creeping up on us with pumpkin sales up by 20% year-on-year. Some canny customers are getting ahead on their Christmas shopping, with festive confectionery and biscuits up 33% and 18% respectively. Cards and crackers also had a great week.”
He added: “Our new Chipping Sodbury branch enjoyed a strong first week of trade and we will doubtless build on that success with the arrival of Oundle this week. The opening will leave us just one branch away from having 300 shops – a real milestone for the business.”