Groceries were the star yet again for the John Lewis Partnership last week, as overall group sales grew 6.7 per cent according to results released today.
For the seven days ending March 5th Waitrose sales rose 9.3 per cent year-on-year, whilst trade at John Lewis department store increased just 2.2 per cent.
A popular Delia Smith pancake recipe pushed up sales of batter ingredients and sweet toppings at the grocer, whilst the time poor helped sales of new pre-prepared pancakes to grow a massive 200 per cent.
Rob Collins, Personnel Director at Waitrose, said: “Delia’s recipe for pancakes with sugar and lemon prompted shoppers to buy into crucial ingredients. Duchy Originals from Waitrose free range medium eggs soared by 11 per cent, and essential Waitrose lemons grew a fantastic 133 per cent year on year.
“Those looking for an alterative pancake chose Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients flavoured sugars. The sugars had a phenomenal week and sales of cinnamon sugar increased by 1,600 per cent, while lavender sugar was up by 1,300 per cent.
“As a category, home baking had a great week, with sales up over 24 per cent year on year. Batter mix showed growth of 600 per cent and pancake treats were especially popular.”
Meat, fish, frozen & diary was the best performing section of the week with sales up 11 per cent, chilled, fruit, vegetables & bakery products saw a 10.1 per cent uplift, whilst ambient goods rose 7.9 per cent.
Department store trade was less convincing last week, with the year-on-year sales comparison down from 7.2 per cent the previous week.
Sales have been generally weak at John Lewis department stores since the start of this year, and this trend continued last week with only five stores seeing sales grow.
The home category was the weakest sector at the stores, dropping 0.4 per cent in trade, electricals & home technology sales increased 5.3 per cent, and fashion - which helped the resurgent performance the week before - rose just 1.8 per cent.
Chris Hooper, Head of Operational Support at John Lewis, commented: “All in all, a good start to the March trading period, and with increasingly important seasonal events ahead of us, and perhaps some warmer weather, a real chance for us to shine.”