Up-market grocer Waitrose reported a year-on-year sales increase of 9.8 per cent in the week ending July 16th 2011, according to a trading statement published today.
Some £101.23 million in sales were generated over the seven-day period, with Waitrose indicating that the beginning of the school summer holidays prompted shoppers to stock up on home baking products and a number of end of term gifts for teachers, including greeting cards and flowers.
Recent Kantar Worldpanel data showed that the supermarket increased sales faster than any other grocer, apart from German discounters Aldi and Lidl, in the 12 weeks to July 10th.
The insight group argued that the grocery market is becoming increasingly polarised, with significant numbers of people shopping at each end of the price scale.
And highlighting some of the cultured tastes of Waitrose’s shopper base, the retailer’s Finance Director Tom Athron today announced the launch of a new Japanese range in response to strong customer demand for sea vegetables.
“British sea vegetables are quickly becoming one of this year’s must-haves for the dinner tables and our sales of samphire are ahead of last year by 47 per cent,” he explained.
“To reflect this trend we have this week launched okahijiki to around 70 of our stores. Originally from Japan, it has a fresh, light taste and is grown exclusively for Waitrose on a farm in the midlands, alongside samphire and our other new sea vegetable, sea aster.
“All three sea vegetables are sold on our fish service counters as they are the perfect accompaniment to fish, but sea aster also tastes great with lamb.”
Waitrose’s sales were the main catalyst for the John Lewis Partnership’s 7.5 per cent year-on-year trading increase for the week.
Combining the sales figures from John Lewis department stores with Waitrose’s results, the group made £161.14 million over the course of the seven days.