Trade update for week ending 30 May 2015, from Waitrose Personnel Director, Helen Hyde.
We continue to face tough comparatives versus last year and, in the context of continued food price deflation, provisional divisional sales (excluding fuel) were up 1.3 per cent.
A typical blend of warmer sunshine mixed with overcast and showery spells marked the half-term week. In characteristic British fashion, customers made the most of the weather, though, with booming demand for sales of outdoor products. Our outdoor plants had a stellar week and were helped by one of the highlights of the Chelsea Flower Show, lupins. Demand at Waitrose rocketed after the Show, with three times as many of the plants already sold compared to last year.
Sales of sun care products were up 25 per cent, as customers spent more time outdoors, while ice cream sales rose 18 per cent compared to last year.
English wine's growth has been on an upward curve for the last few years with Waitrose now boasting well over 100 different lines and a 60 per cent market share. Its popularity during English wine week saw a huge surge, with demand up 103 per cent.
Other home-grown specialities, British asparagus and Jersey Royals are also enjoying bumper demand; with sales up 39 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
The warmer weather helped cider sales jump by 25 per cent, while the rising demand for gin saw the popularity of our gin showcase increase by 57 per cent compared to the previous year's event.
Customers were also travelling up and down the country, helping boost demand at Waitrose shops at Welcome Break service stations, with sales up 7.5 per cent compared to the same week last year.