Waitrose sales slide 4.5% against tough comparatives

Upmarket supermarket Waitrose saw sales slide 4.5 per cent last week against tough comparatives due to the Diamond Jubilee last year, it has been announced today.

Last year‘s double Bank Holiday weekend saw the retailer report its strongest week of sales outside of Christmas and Easter ever and as such Waitrose‘s Supply Chain Director David Jones said the dip was “expected”.

As weather remained cool at the start of the week to June 1st 2013, sales of hot drinks and fresh soup increased 24 per cent and 39 per cent respectively while an improvement in the latter part of the week saw shoppers purchase barbecue meats, sausages and charcoal.

Sales of British watercress soared 300 per cent over the period and Jones hailed the grocer‘s latest TV ad campaign for the rise, as sales of Wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon fillets and crème fraiche, which feature in the ad, jumped 38 per cent and 221 per cent respectively.

Earlier this week, the Partnership announced its commitment to increasing community volunteering and Jones explained: “This week is NCVO‘s (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations) Volunteers‘ Week, and we‘re delighted to be continuing our commitment to local communities by helping Partners across the business to spend a total of 75,000 hours volunteering for charities and good causes this year.”

Meanwhile, department store John Lewis reported steady sales both online and in stores as total sales leapt 8.4 per cent on the same week last year.

Promotional activity drove the rise as the retailer price matched against competitors for four days compared with two days last year and Director of Retail Sales at John Lewis Barry Matheson said that this and damp weather over the half term week left John Lewis “cautiously satisfied with its performance.”

Electricals and Home Technology continued to outshine other categories thanks to new product launches as sales rocketed 26.2 per cent amid a positive response to promotional activity.

Fashion saw a solid performance across Menswear and Women‘s Accessories while Nursey and Toys reported double-digit gains, driving overall category growth of 3.8 per cent.

Home saw a difficult week of trade as demand for Outdoor Living products cooled, with total sales down 2.7 per cent on the same week in 2012 despite good trade in the core furnishings offer.

“We will need to get to the end of this week to see how we have compared over the full Jubilee period,” explained Matheson.

“Then Clearance will, as always, provide a great opportunity to cement our reputation for outstanding value and great service.

“Extracting maximum value from that is where attention now shifts.”


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