Waitrose has issued a trade update for the two weeks ending December 31.
The supermarket chain’s marketing director Rupert Thomas said total sales excluding fuel were 31.1% up for the week before Christmas (ending December 24), which this year included two extra days of sales as Christmas Day and Boxing Day fell in the equivalent week in 2015.
Comparisons for the following week (ending December 31) were also distorted by the fall of Christmas and New Year. This trading week included Christmas Day and Boxing Day when branches were closed. The equivalent week in 2015 only included one day (New Year’s Day) when the majority of branches didn’t trade. Consequently total sales excluding fuel were down 12.5%.
Rupert commented: “As expected, entertaining was a key theme throughout the two-week period with customers getting ready to impress their guests. Party food was up 14%, Christmas cakes were up 9% and frozen desserts were up 11%.
“Home items, such as crackers and wrapping paper, performed strongly and Christmas trees were up 20% as customers decorated their houses for family and friends.
“Meat sales grew overall. Popular alternatives to turkey included duck, up 13%, beef, rising by 6% and slow cooked meats surging by 63%.
“Toasts were raised across the country to bring in the New Year, with English sparkling wine up 65% and champagne up 13%.