UK: Strong Week For Waitrose Despite The Weather

Waitrose has revealed that it saw its busiest Tuesday and Wednesday so far this year as shoppers stocked up on luxury food and drink for Christmas and storecupboard staples ahead of the big freeze that arrived later in the week. Sales for the week ended Saturday 18 December 2010 were £131m. This was up 7% on last year, despite Saturday’s sales being impacted by the severe weather conditions – down 11%. Last week’s sales showed a 25% increase on 2008.

Mark Price, Managing Director of Waitrose, said: “From Monday onwards customers took the weather forecast seriously and brought forward their shopping to earlier in the week. Behind the scenes our Partners in our shops and depots are being absolutely heroic, putting in monumental efforts to make sure our customers can get everything they want.

“Despite the arctic conditions, customers are clearly determined to have a good Christmas and sales in premium quality are very strong with people trading up on all types of seasonal specialities. Customers are seeking out those extra special festive products – from the very best mince pies and puddings to top quality free range turkeys”.

Meanwhile, at sister chain John Lewis sales last week were up 7% up on a year ago, although they dipped slightly from the previous week’s record as snow kept some shoppers at home. The group said that said its department store sales for the week were £120.3m, the second time sales had exceeded £120m pounds in its history. Sales in the week to Saturday 11 December were £121.03m.