Total sales (excluding petrol) were 9.5% higher for the week to April 25 at Waitrose compared to the year-ago period.
But the supermarket chain noted that comparisons were distorted by the later fall of Easter in 2014. The 2015 figure includes an additional day of trade, against Easter Sunday last year when shops were closed.
Waitrose supply chain director David Jones said the main trend for the week was a move toward alfresco dining. The unseasonably warm weather drove up sales of charcoal for barbecues by 54%, and sales of picnicware and lunch boxes by 67%.
He added that shoppers were ‘clearly eating on the move to make the most of the warmer weather’. Waitrose’s ‘food to go’ range of sandwiches, salads, sushi and snack foods saw its biggest ever week of sales – up by 39% compared with the year-ago period. Its range of garden accessories, including products such as gardening gloves and compost, saw a sales increase of 62%, as many spent time outside.
David Jones concluded: “We’re now seeing a wider move toward these summer trends across the shop. For example, bags of salad were up by 28% last week, salad dressings by 17% and seafood by 23%. Customers made the most of the early start to the British strawberry season, driving up sales of soft fruit by 35%. And in line with a wider juicing and smoothie trend, our sales of frozen fruit were up by 55% for the week.”