In the context of “extremely tough comparatives”, total divisional sales last week (to July 5) at Waitrose, excluding petrol, were down by -0.4% on the same period in 2013.
The supermarket group’s supply chain director David Jones said: “Waitrose was trading against an exceptional week’s performance in the previous year, which saw the start of the summer heatwave and Andy Murray’s Wimbledon success. However, the ‘Grand Départ’ of the Tour de France from Britain for the first time certainly increased our customers’ appetite for French foods last week.”
Sales of viennoiseries and baked goods such as croissants and pains au chocolat, were up by 23% on last year. French cheese also performed well, with sales of French Emmental up by 64% against 2013 and Brie up by 17%. Rhône wine proved very popular, increasing by 9% on the same week last year.
Excitement about the Tour de France visiting Yorkshire was also evident, with the York branch selling out of French baguettes on Friday in the build-up to the start of the Tour.
He added: “Last week’s sporting schedule, including the World Cup, Wimbledon finals, the British Grand Prix and of course the Tour de France, meant that our customers were looking for time-saving meal solutions.”
Sales of ready meals were up by 11% on the same week in 2013, with the ‘Love Life You Count’ range up by 60% and ‘Ready to Cook’ up 24%. Sales of desserts were up by 17.5% on the same week in 2013, and ‘Seriously’ cakes in particular up by 80%.