Seasonal shoppers drive Waitrose sales

Upmarket grocer Waitrose saw sales rise 4.1 per cent last week on last year as seasonal festivities drove shoppers in store, according to figures released today.

Customers stocked up on Halloween-related products in the week to October 20th 2012 with sales of its Halloween accessories range up 12 per cent on last year while sales of its ‘Munchkin‘ pumpkin increased 29 per cent.

Meanwhile, Christmas preparations are getting under way earlier than expected, with sales of Christmas confectionery ahead 42 per cent on the same time last year while advent calendars sold at more than triple the rate than they were a year earlier.

However, the supermarket noted that a true comparison for the week was undermined by a 25 per cent off wine promotion during the same week in 2011.

Shoppers also sought seasonal goods at department store John Lewis, which reported a seven per cent sales boost, lower than its run rate as a result of tough comparatives though reflecting the festive focus of organised consumers.

Purchases using the ‘Gifts We Love‘ promotions increased though footfall dropped as customers put off buying goods as they awaited new product launches.

EHT sales grew 12.5 per cent on last year driven by large electrical which saw a 23 per cent rise, while online sales shot up 23 per cent year-on-year.

In stores, there were mixed results with its Swindon and Sheffield branches reporting an 8.8 per cent and 5.6 per cent increase respectively while the new Exeter store traded strongly across fashion and beauty.

Maggie Porteous, Head of Selling Operations for New Format at John Lewis, welcomed the results, commenting: “This week brings a host of opportunities!

“As you read this, we will be launching Windows 8 and the Kindle Fire which will no doubt increase traffic online and footfall into our shops.

“That, coupled with the forecast colder weather, should give us a great boost at the beginning of the half-term week, which traditionally heralds the start of Christmas shopping.”


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