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Waitrose sales up 6.2% in Christmas build-up

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Total sales at upmarket grocer Waitrose were up 6.2 per cent on last year for the week to December 10th 2011, as customers stocked up on festive treats.

Longer-life products proved popular as shoppers prepared to spread the cost of Christmas party favourites and gin, bottled beer and cider saw sales increase 17 per cent, 23 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.

Waitrose Wine Direct, the supermarket’s online service, also reported an improvement in trading, as sales of wine through the channel jumped 70 per cent compared to the same period in 2010.

Although shoppers are readying themselves for the big day, cleaning up is at the forefront of their minds as washing-up liquid sales rose 12 per cent while cleaning products saw a 19 per cent increase on last year.

During the run-up to Christmas, the grocer is focusing its attention on its supply chain and David Jones, Supply Chain Director for the retailer, explained that the team is working flat out to meet demand and be prepared for tough weather conditions.

“In December our warehouse teams will pick around 25 million cases of stock ready for delivery to our shops. That works out to an average of 11 cases of stock every second, with teams picking through the day and night.

“As we enter the final Christmas trading week of 2011 we are keeping a very close eye on the weather forecast - with our fingers firmly crossed.”

Earlier this week, the chain announced that stores in central London are now receiving deliveries from the first of a new breed of low-emission Mercedes-Benz trucks using groundbreaking technology which allows the driver to monitor the performance of the electric motor.

Equipped with a specially developed version of the Mercedes-Benz Motor Stop-Start (MSS) system, which boosts fuel economy simply by switching off the engine whenever the vehicle is in neutral and stationary for three seconds, the Lenham Storage’s new 12-tonner also has features manufactured from lightweight, recyclable panels.

It is assigned primarily to Waitrose store deliveries in London and makes between 12 and 15 ‘drops’ per day, six days a week.

Justin Laney, Fleet General Manager at the John Lewis Partnership, commented: “We believe hybrid vehicles will have a valuable role to play in reducing carbon emissions and improving local air quality in urban environments.

“Using this vehicle for deliveries to our Waitrose shops will help us to assess the contribution that the latest hybrid technology can make to our own carbon reduction plans.”

Published on Friday 16 December by Editorial Assistant

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