The supermarket chain says sales for the week ending 18 January were up 6.8 per cent year on year, excluding fuel, driven by healthy eating habits and the increase in online orders.
Waitrose has been investing in its online service, running a marketing campaign across print and online, as well as sending out direct marketing, that offered a gift to anyone that ordered groceries for delivery between 6 January and 31 January. It has also doubled online capacity across its branches and opened its first online fulfilment centre in Acton, with plans to open a second centre in South London in the autumn.
A spokesperson says: “We’ve been thanking our Waitrose.com shoppers for choosing to shop with us. We’re really pleased with how this has been received by customers.”
Waitrose’s “LOVElife” range, which clearly displays the calorie content, also benefitted from the new year tradition for healthier eating, with sales of the line up 33 per cent in store and online. Sales of “healthier” protein sources also increased, in particular lemon sole fillets, whole salmon and fish pie mix.
Waitrose is hoping to build on growing demand by opening 26 new stores in 2014, a step up in expansion from last year when it opened 13 stores. It performed better than the big four supermarkets over Christmas, with sales up 3.1 per cent and its market share increasing to 4.8 per cent, according to Kantar Worldpanel figures.
At sister brand John Lewis, sales increased 23.4 per cent year on year, albeit against weak sales a year ago when snow kept shoppers at home. Every John Lewis shop posted an increase on a year ago, with the ‘At home’ branches performing particularly well. Online was also up 16.6 per cent.
Tim Harrison, head of retail implementation and format development at John Lewis, says: “The last week showed that we are running to the end of the year in great form. As we look ahead to the new trading year we can be confident that customers appreciate everything we do – we just need to keep doing it.”