Press releases

Frozen aisle is the hot destination as festive desserts take centre stage

Monday 25 November 2013

Weekly trading comments from Rupert Thomas, Waitrose Marketing Director for week ending 23 November 2013

As the mercury fell to more wintery levels last week, shoppers at Waitrose embraced the chilly weather to stock up on frozen delights in good time for Christmas.

Total divisional sales (excluding fuel) at Waitrose in the week to Saturday (23 November) were 6.5 per cent higher than the same time last year as the grocer's frozen food aisles became the hot destination.

Waitrose.com put in a fourth record week in a row outside of the Christmas peak week with sales 43.5 per cent higher than last year as many shoppers chose to carry out their grocery shop from the comfort of their own home or on the go using a mobile or tablet device. Together they accounted for nearly a third of traffic.

Click & collect orders with johnlewis.com accelerated to their busiest week yet, with orders double last year's levels.

Ice cool centrepieces with impact and style are set to be among this season's must-eats. The newly launched Heston from Waitrose Strawberry and Lychee gateau, with its striking red quilted effect, is already proving one of this year's bestsellers, up 42 per cent on last week while ice cream was the surprise hit with sales of Heston from Waitrose Malted Milk and Marmalade up 16 per cent compared to last week.

Savvy shoppers looking to spread the cost of Christmas are also stocking their freezers with festive fare ready to cater for impromptu guests at the drop of a hat.

Frozen party food demand has leapt by 24 per cent, with shoppers were opting for more exotic treats over British favourites. Customers picked up 114 per cent more mini oriental snacks compared with sausage rolls seeing a 57 per cent up lift.

Impressing guests with homespun offers was also front of mind as an army of crafty cooks made personalised foodie gifts.

Jam-making and preserving is proving itself one of the year's top trends. Sales of confectionary thermometers have rocketed by almost 1,200 per cent. Jam pot covers are up almost 350 per cent, while sealing and labelling kits are nearly 500 per cent higher than last year.

There was also soaring demand for our new make-your-own hampers, with week-on-week sales up by 75 per cent compared to the previous week. These provide customers with the perfect way to pick and present their chosen gifts for friends and family.

Our Blanc de Noirs Brut NV champagne (£21.99) is in hot demand after picking up the Which? Best Buy award and pipping more expensive brands to the post. Sales have sparkled since, up 315 per cent.


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, 262 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 301 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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Enquiries

For further information, please contact:

Rob Cadwell
Press Officer, Corporate, Waitrose
Telephone: 01344 826182
Mobile: 07764 675959
Email: rob_caldwell@waitrose.co.uk