Total sales – excluding petrol – at Waitrose dropped 0.6% in the week to February 14.
The upmarket grocery chain said this performance was impacted by a period of major promotional activity this time last year. Sales were driven by events including Valentine’s Day and the start of half term.
As customers geared up for half term and days out, ‘Food to Go’ sales were up by 16%. Preparing for rainy weather at home, poncho sales were up by 43% on the previous week and umbrella sales rose five-fold – while sun cream sales were up 41% as shoppers prepared for holidays abroad.
Flowers proved a big hit, with Waitrose’s horticulture range experiencing its best Valentine’s Day week ever. Total sales were up 19% and Valentine’s bouquets were up by 39%. Its best-selling bouquet was the ‘upper class Waitrose Foundation dozen roses’ bouquet at £29.50.
Champagne and sparkling wine made up seven of the 10 best-selling lines in the week up to Valentine’s Day on Waitrose’s website. Waitrose Cellar, with Champagne sales up 319% on the year as a whole and sparkling wine sales up by 271% on the year, driven by Prosecco.
Waitrose marketing director Rupert Thomas said: “With Chinese New Year starting in this week [from Thursday February 19] our Cooks’ Ingredients rice vinegar was up by 34% for the week, oyster sauce up 26% and dark soya sauce up 21%.”