Last week (to December 17) total sales at Waitrose, excluding fuel, were 1.7% lower than last year.
The supermarket chain’s personnel director Helen Hyde said: “As the week finished with seven full trading days until Christmas, compared to only five last year, many customers will be holding off making purchases for the big day until later.”
With this in mind, she said, consumers were still buying Christmas cards, with overall card sales growing by 20%. This contributed to the Home and General Merchandise category performing strongly, with a 6.9% uplift in sales.
Customers were also stocking up on special food items, with sales of quails’ eggs up 80% and service counter cheese experiencing an uplift of 36%.
Pre-orders of meat will be collected this week, with customers’ orders of turkey up 12%, beef up 77% and gammon up 60%.
Finally, outdoor horticulture had a “good week”, with sales rising by 50%.