Record first-half sales for Waitrose

For the first time ever, sales in the half year exceeded £3bn for supermarket chain Waitrose.

The trading week to July 27 marked the end of the half year, with cumulative results for the period up by 11% (excluding petrol).

Waitrose managing director Mark Price said: “We have achieved sales growth that has been significantly and consistently ahead of the market – indeed, we have now outperformed the market for more than four years in a row, according to Kantar data.”

The supermarket chain’s total sales for the week to July 27 (excluding petrol) were 4.1% up, which was slightly ahead of expectations.

“We faced particularly tough comparatives with the equivalent week last year, when we had the first sustained period of hot weather of the summer, and the excitement for the Olympics had started to build,” said Mark Price.

“The school summer holidays are now in full swing, so many customers were on the move, with Food to Go sales up 15%.”

Holiday activities for children clearly included home baking, which was up 13% overall. Sugar was up 12%, cake decorations and sprinkles up 161% and cooking chocolate up 39%.

Shoppers were also creating classic summer desserts, such as trifle and Eton mess, with sponge fingers up 277%, meringues up 162% and strawberries up 15%.

The Heston Blumenthal TV advert resulted in a 2,460% uplift in sales of the Michelin-starred chef’s salted caramel popcorn ice cream.

To celebrate the Olympics, the Anniversary Games took place at the weekend which prompted a 34% uplift in world beers and a 10% uplift in sparkling wine.

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