Trade update for week ending 25 July 2015, from Waitrose Retail Director, Rob Collins
Last week saw provisional divisional sales, excluding fuel, up 0.6 per cent – compared to the same week last year, which was one of the two hottest weeks of 2014.
The disappointing weather at the start of the school summer holidays meant customers were reaching for warming food options usually more popular in the winter months. Soups were up 28 per cent compared to the same week last year, while hot sharing desserts such as bread and butter pudding and crumbles enjoyed a 22 per cent increase in demand. Ready meals were up by 26 per cent on 2014.
Drinks associated with colder weather were also on the rise. Sales of coffee and hot drinks were up by 21 per cent. Red wine saw strong growth, with wine from the Rhône region of France up by 47 per cent on last year, and Spanish red up by 19 per cent. Malt whisky and cognac were also a hit with customers, up by 22 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.
Rain across large swathes of the country meant that roast dinners as opposed to barbeques were a popular choice, with beef joints up 47 per cent on 2014. Traditional roast accompaniments were a success; sales of frozen Yorkshire puddings increased 40 per cent, while parsnips were up 46 per cent and broccoli by 31 per cent.
Perhaps because it was a week for staying indoors Waitrose cafés were a popular choice with customers, with orders of food and drink up 32 per cent compared to 2014. Also in a bid for extra warmth, there was a sharp increase in the popularity of tights – up an impressive 41 per cent on the same week last year.