Christmas shoppers search out the 'wow factor'
Waitrose trade update for week ending 14 December 2013 from retail director Rob Collins
As we enter the last full week of Christmas trade, our latest results show festive preparations starting to build in earnest. Total divisional sales last week (excluding fuel) were 3.1 per cent higher than last year, with a noticeable move towards stocking up for the big day. Week on week sales were up 9 per cent.
We're seeing a significant trend for people searching out food and drink with a 'wow factor' - either showy centrepieces or contemporary takes on classic Christmas food.
An example of this has been the runaway popularity of our Heston from Waitrose chocolate box. Customers have been snapping up the boxes of 15 chocolates with a twist as a modern party accessory or thank you gift for a host. Sales last week soared 20-fold compared to the week before.
Similarly we sold four times as many Heston from Waitrose Earl Grey and mandarin stollens as the week before, and nearly three times as many packs of Heston puff pastry mince pies with pine sugar dusting (180 per cent increase).
Waitrose Entertaining (our online party and entertaining ordering service) is seeing the same trend, with customers searching out something different or special for their Christmas dinner table.
Our spectacular 'Jubilee rib' of beef - big enough to serve 20 people - is 50 per cent up compared to last year. And our 'ballotine' of turkey, chicken and duck centrepiece is 71 per cent ahead of last year's orders. Our customer research shows 23 per cent of people will try beef for a change this Christmas.
Waitrose Seriously plummy dessert wine is also proving very popular as an impressive way to finish a festive meal, perfectly matching chocolate praline desserts. Sales are up by 58 per cent compared to last year.
Another new take on a classic capturing customer imaginations is our Christmas pudding ice cream - sales are up by 24 per cent compared to last year and 142 per cent compared to the previous week, as people start to buy ahead for the big day or to get in to the festive spirit now.
Notes to editors
The John Lewis Partnership - The John Lewis Partnership operates 40 John Lewis shops across the UK (30 department stores and 10 John Lewis at home), johnlewis.com, 263 Waitrose supermarkets, 39 Waitrose convenience stores, waitrose.com and business to business contracts in the UK and abroad. The business has annual gross sales of over £9.5bn. It is the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership where all 85,500 staff are Partners in the business.
Waitrose - Waitrose, Britain's favourite supermarket*, has 302 shops in the UK and Channel Islands and is consistently achieving sales growth significantly ahead of the market both in its branches and its online grocery service, Waitrose.com*. Its strong performance has been driven by the success of the essential Waitrose range, Brand Price Match, an unmatchable top tier of products and free delivery for online shopping and its popular myWaitrose card, as well as a long term commitment to sourcing the UK's finest local and regional foods. Waitrose combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop - dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced combined with high standards of customer service. Waitrose is the holder of the Good Housekeeping Favourite Supermarket award, was Best Food and Grocery Retailer in Verdict's Consumer Satisfaction Awards and gained the title of Best Supermarket in the Which? supermarket satisfaction survey. (www.waitrose.com)
*Kantar World panel
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