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Waitrose turns to British as sales soar

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With an early start to the season for homegrown produce, upmarket grocer Waitrose has continued to buck British trading trends by posting more strong sales figures today.

In the week ending Friday September 2nd 2011, the supermarket half of the John Lewis Partnership recorded a 9.9 per cent growth in trading year-on-year, with sales totalling £99.32 million over the seven-day period.

Every product category reported double-digit sales growth, bar ambient goods which were up 9.8 per cent on last year, and online sales were only slightly down on the year-to-date average rising 14.5 per cent.

Mark Williamson, Commercial Director of Waitrose, commented: “The British apple season is running about two weeks ahead this year because of the warm spring - and customers have been enjoying the early arrival of British varieties, with sales ahead by 40 per cent compared to last year.

“During peak season 70 per cent of our apples will be British, and we sell over 30 British varieties. We sell nine per cent of all home-grown apples, which is more than double our overall grocery market share.

“With many taking ‘staycations’ to enjoy the last of the British summer, we have been noticing a rise in customers ordering online groceries while on holiday in the UK. Our Waitrose.com team have been delivering an increasing amount of orders to campsites, holiday homes and even canal boats.”

Business was less bumper for John Lewis stores, with the department store arm of the partnership delivering only a 1.4 per cent rise in trading during the week.

Only the Cardiff outlet saw sales rise during the seven days, up 1.3 per cent, whilst only the Glasgow branch has seen year-on-year trading grow for the first four weeks of the retailer’s second-half period.

Johnlewis.com proved the increasing importance of multichannel however with an impressive 33.9 per cent spike in sales and in product categories electricals & home technology continued its recent revival by seeing a 7.8 per cent jump in trade compared to the same week in 2010.

Susanne Given, Buying Director for Fashion & Beauty at John Lewis, added: “Online drove the highest channel increase at +34 per cent on last year, driven by healthy gains in both traffic and conversion, as well as Back to School categories such as childrenswear which made an online increase of 185 per cent on last year.

“Stores delivered a more variable performance, with several of our big stores currently undergoing major refurbishments in time for peak trading.

“Autumn is now finally on its way, and we are excited about our new season’s products and about-to-be-launched advertising campaigns - all of which will hopefully keep our customers inspired.”

Published on Friday 02 September by Editorial Assistant

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