Trading at Waitrose, the supermarket arm of the John Lewis Partnership, grew 8.6 per cent year-on-year last week, according to results released today.
This means sales in the financial year to June 4th 2011 have jumped 8.8 per cent as the grocer continues to perform well in an increasingly tough market, despite persistent price rises and fierce competition.
The British Retail Consortium and Nielsen reported earlier this week that food inflation had risen to 4.9 per cent in May whilst non-food inflation was just 0.8 per cent, showing the extra pressure being put on supermarkets to keep consumer spending buoyant.
John Lewis department stores, the other half of the partnership, had another tough week in the seven days to June 4th but did manage to increase sales by 0.5 per cent compared to last year.
Only three John Lewis stores saw their trading rise compared to last year during the period, a slight improvement from the previous week, as electricals and home technology goods continued to struggle
In contrast Waitrose was particularly pleased with customer interaction with their latest celebrity recipe and the successful return of its £10 dinner for two deal.
Mark Williamson, Commercial Director at Waitrose, said: “Sales were boosted by the continued success of our latest Delia recipe. Delia’s Cheddar-crusted smoked haddock led to an increase of 423 per cent in sales of that particular fish. Jersey Royal potatoes were also up 16 per cent compared with last year.”
Ambient goods were the best sellers last week, up 9.9 per cent year-on-year but chilled, fruit, veg & bakery items and meat, fish, frozen & dairy products were not far behind, with sales increasing 8.1 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively.
The supermarket also announced this week the imminent launch of its Love Life range of over 270 nutritionally balanced foods, the largest sub-brand introduced since Essential Waitrose.
Williamson explained: “The range is designed to complement the staple grocery items in essential Waitrose and the more indulgent products from Duchy, Heston and Menu From Waitrose ranges.
“It answers a demand from over half of Waitrose customers to help them include a wider range of wholefood ingredients and avoid saturated fats in their diets.”