Trade update for week ending 22 August from Waitrose Marketing Director, Rupert Thomas

With festival season in full swing and the August bank holiday on the horizon, a week of mixed weather saw a diverse range of shopping trends last week.  Total sales increased by 1.6% excluding fuel, slightly distorted by the equivalent week last year including the build up to bank holiday.

Many people got ready for concerts and events, buying prepared cans of spirits and mixers – sales of the range increased by 29% for the week with favourites including gin and tonic and Jack Daniel’s and cola.

Small bottles of wine were up by 25% for the week as people sought a convenient size for picnics or events.  And shoppers stocked up on packs of sandwiches and snacks to eat on the move, pushing sales up by 11%.

The patchy sunshine pushed up sales of sun lotion by 28%.  But we are also selling double the amount of rain ponchos and umbrellas than this time last year, as people prepare for every eventuality.

The warmer spells led to good sales of soft fruit, with demand up by 20% for the week – and with more British cherries increasingly available, sales last week grew by 90%.

Waitrose 1Many people sought out quick or easy food to enjoy while watching the cricket – our sales of pizzas and garlic breads increased by 12% for the week.  We also saw strong demand for beer and cider, with sales up by 12% and 11% respectively.

In the continuation of a key trend this year, the popularity of making juices and smoothies at home pushed up sales of frozen fruit by 30%, as shoppers continue to appreciate the ease of adding a handful of pre-chopped fruit from the freezer.

With the start of the university term now in many people’s minds, we are seeing a good response to our ranges of homeware.  Favourite products include our multipacks, which are perfect for a student home, such as packs of four mugs and packs of three tea towels.

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