Shoppers prepared for half term and Valentine's Day

Trading update for week ending 14 February 2015 from Waitrose Marketing Director Rupert Thomas

Topline performance was impacted by a period of major promotional activity this time last year, with total sales last week excluding fuel -0.6%.  Sales in a number of areas were driven by events including Valentine's Day and the start of half term.

As customers geared up for half term, 'Food to Go' sales were up by 16% with parents picking up food for family days out. Preparing for every weather eventuality, poncho sales were up by 43% on the previous week and umbrella sales rose five-fold.  While sun cream sales were up 41% as shoppers prepared for holidays abroad.

Flowers proved a big hit over the weekend with our horticulture range experiencing its best Valentine's Day week ever – total sales were up a rosy 19% and Valentine's bouquets were up by 39%. Our best-selling bouquet was the 'upper class Waitrose Foundation dozen roses' bouquet, £29.50.

Waitrose at Waterlooville by Basher Eyre (CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Basher Eyre (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Not forgetting the fizz, Champagne and sparkling wine made up seven of the 10 best-selling lines in the week leading up to Valentine's Day on Waitrose Cellar, with Champagne sales up a sparkly 319% on the year as a whole and sparkling wine sales up by 271% on the year, driven by Prosecco.

Shoppers were also looking ahead to Chinese New Year this week (Thursday 19), taking the opportunity to prepare Oriental meals.  Our Cooks' Ingredients rice vinegar was up by 34% for the week, oyster sauce up 26% and dark soya sauce 21%.

We were delighted to score top marks in the global annual farm animal welfare Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW). In total, 80 companies were assessed and Waitrose was ranked as a global leader in providing consistently high standards of animal welfare.

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