Waitrose shoppers celebrate Burns Night

Waitrose experienced ‘challenging’ trading in the final week of its financial year (to January 30), with total sales – excluding petrol – 2.4% lower than last year.

With Burns Night falling last week, many shoppers celebrated with a Burns Supper, the grocery chain reported. The event’s increasing popularity across the UK saw 22% more haggis bought than last year.

The supermarket multiple’s most popular haggis was the traditional 500g Macsween haggis, with sales 40% higher than last year. Waitrose also saw a lift in demand for vegetarian haggis, which accounted for nearly a quarter of total haggis sales.

Waitrose commercial director Mark Williamson also noted: “At the weekend – the last in January – we saw a surge in popularity of our range of no alcohol and low alcohol wines.

“Our drinks team has noted this trend building throughout the month, something that could be attributed to the increasing popularity of ‘dry January’, or a move towards lower alcohol options for the first month of the year.” Sales for the range were 47% higher for the week.

There was also an increase in sales of small (37.5cl) bottles of wine, “showing that many were looking to enjoy a glass of wine without opening a full bottle”. Sales of the range were up by 37% last week.

The retailer’s first Pick Your Own Offers TV ad prompted a further flurry of customers to sign up to the scheme, which lets customers pick 10 products to save money on each time they shop. The top 10 most popular picks consistently feature regular or everyday purchases, including chicken, cherry tomatoes, bathroom tissue and eggs.

Mark Williamson concluded: “The strongest performance across ranges last week was from the home and leisure category, which saw trade up more than 10% compared to last year, as people brighten up homes at the start of the year.”

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