Waitrose trade update for week ending 16th May from Finance Director Tom Athron

Total sales were 0.3% higher than last year, with strong performances from ranges associated with warmer weather. We are still seeing significant deflationary impact across categories. Examples of this include iceberg lettuces and 1kg bags of carrots, which are each selling for 60p, compared to £1 this time last year.

One of our best performing ranges currently is our selection of ‘grow your own’ fruit, vegetables and herbs. The range of outdoor plants was up by more than 100% as customers look forward to eating something they’ve grown at home. Top sellers include sweetcorn, cherry tomato, courgette, and cucumber plants.

Our range of outdoor plants as a whole was up by 45% last week as many parts of the country enjoyed a warm weekend. We are particularly seeing an emerging trend for ‘instant gardening’ solutions – ready-made containers with a selection of plants.

As summer approaches there is more and more British produce becoming available. Customers are particularly taking the opportunity to enjoy asparagus – now 100% British with sales 20% higher than the week before – and Jersey royals, for which we hold an 18% share of the British market.

English Wine Week starts this weekend (23rd May).  Waitrose holds 60% of the English wine market, and it represents an important part of our drinks range. Sales last week were 80% up compared to last year.

Customers are also choosing to support British growers when buying cut flowers – our range of British flowers was up by 22% last week.

Our ‘food to go’ range performed strongly last week, possibly again driven by the warmer weather.  Sandwich sales were 11% higher, salads 24% up, and packs of snacks 49%.

Waitrose 22-5-15

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