Second busiest week of the year for

Total sales at Waitrose, excluding petrol were up 8.5% on last year in the week to November 2, helped by strong online orders and customers celebrating Halloween and hosting bonfire parties.

The online grocery service enjoyed a stand-out week, as customers shopped from the comfort of their homes. It chalked up its second busiest week of the year, ahead of Easter and second only to Christmas.

Keeping cosy at bonfire parties helped to drive sales of warming food and drink. Sales of Heston from Waitrose Mulled Cider shot up 600% against last year and demand for mulled wine spice kits doubled compared with the previous week.

Likewise, bonfire favourites proved popular with sausage sales up 34% and slow-cooked meats, like pulled pork, up 26%.

And whether for creative carving or meals, pumpkins have never been more popular. Sales for all squashes were up 47% while sales of carving pumpkins increased by 74%.

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