Sales (excluding petrol) for Waitrose were 20.6% higher than last year in the week to April 5.
The supermarket chain’s personnel director Helen Hyde said: “Easter fell much earlier last year so this is not a meaningful comparison – nevertheless we saw a strong performance across all categories, and a particular focus on spring trends.
“With the long Easter weekend now in our sights, many shoppers have been stocking up on sweet treats to mark the end of Lent or to give as gifts. Sales of our chocolate Easter ranges were up by 49% compared to the equivalent Easter build-up week last year.” She noted that Waitrose’s Woodland Friends range of chocolate characters saw a 500% spike in sales after appearing in BBC1 documentary ‘Supermarket Secrets’.
Helen added: “With three long weekends on the horizon, optimistic barbecuers have bought 41% more barbecue meat and 32% more salads, while the impending holidays have also prompted hand-held ice cream sales to rise by 93%. Shoppers have also bought 52% more food to eat while on the go – often a signifier of warmer weather, as people look for food to eat while enjoying the great outdoors.”