Shoppers haven’t quite stopped partying, says Waitrose

Healthy New Year resolutions and promotions helped deliver growth with divisional sales (excluding petrol) up 3.3% last week to January 9, compared with the same week last year.

Waitrose commercial director Mark Williamson said the grocery chain’s half price event had a real impact across most categories. As the UK returned to work and prepared to go back to school, customers took advantage of the promotional activity to restock their kitchens and clean their homes.

World Foods set record sales with Thai food proving particularly popular, as sales shot up by 84%.

A combination of convenience and healthier options drove the biggest ever week for rice as sales grew by 33%. Microwave rice was up by 32%, while wholegrain rice was up by an 96% and speciality rice saw a 42% uplift.

Mark Williamson said: “As people started the New Year with healthy objectives, the increasing popularity of the NutriBullet [smoothie maker] is believed to be having a significant impact as fresh and frozen fruit sales both saw significant sales growth.”

Fresh fruit sales grew by 26%, while frozen fruit sales were up by 23.6%, including frozen British blackberries where sales were up 58%.

A ‘Fish Friday’ promotion on branch service counters, designed to encourage more shoppers to eat fresh fish more regularly as part of their diet, helped service counter fish sales leap by more than 13%, while pre-packed fish also increased by 18%.

Cleaning categories saw their best ever sales, too. Laundry detergents were up more than 5%, household cleaning jumped by 19% and washing up liquid sales increased by almost 30%.

Mark Williamson added: “There were also indications that the party season might still be in full swing with some office celebrations postponed until the New Year. Champagne sales fizzed, up 11% on the previous year, while sales of frozen party foods rose by a huge 44%.”

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