Total divisional sales (excluding petrol) for Waitrose in the week to February 28 were 0.3% higher than last year.
The grocery chain’s finance director Tom Athron said: “Volumes and customer numbers are up but year-on-year sales growth continues to be held back by both food price deflation and tough comparatives due to major promotional activity this time last year.”
He added: “The impact of falling prices is starkly illustrated by the examples of store cupboard essentials such as onions – 80p a bag now compared to £1.25 last year, and butter – 95p a pack versus £1.32 a year ago. This means that, despite our positive volumes, falling food prices are having a drag effect on our sales growth.”
On more positive note, he said Waitrose’s Spring Clean campaign is in full swing with customers keen to get their homes ready for the sunnier months ahead. Sales of Persil ‘citrus burst’ and ‘apple fizz’ are up 659% and 640% respectively, complemented with a new Ecloth washing up pad, up 341% on last year.
Kitchens, baths and showers are getting the deep clean treatment, too, with sprays up 62% and Waitrose own super absorbent cloths up 163%. Kitchen towels are also mopping up sales with ‘Thirst Pockets’ up over 650% and multi-surface wipes sales up 19% compared to the year before.