Waitrose leapfrogs M&S in food sales

Waitrose has overtaken Marks & Spencer in food sales for the first time ever according to the supermarket chain’s managing director Mark Price.

Waitrose Essentials

He says the grocer’s internal calculations based on TNS Worldpanel market share and Nielsen numbers put his food retail business at 4.2%, ahead of M&S’ 3.7%.

Waitrose reported an 11% year-on-year rise in food sales for the week ending 11 July compared to the same period last year.

The supermarket’s introduction of its “Essentials” value range has apparently stemmed any loss of sales from customers downgrading to other supermarkets to save money in the recession.

Last month it revealed the range, covering an initial 800 products, was close to hitting its 15% sales target three months early.

Prior to the launch of the range, Waitrose customers were on average buying one less item per shop as they cut back on spending in response to the recession.
Market share figures were also showing that customers were migrating to retailers who were perceived to offer cheaper ranges.

However, following the launch Waitrose’s market share grew by 4% in the 12 weeks to 17 May according to TNS Worldpanel grocery market share figures, which was seen by some analysts as an “early vindication of the Essentials range strategy”.

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