Waitrose smashes Christmas sales records

Kasmira Jefford
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WAITROSE yesterday toasted record trading in the run-up to the New Year after the grocer said aggressive promotions on products such as champagne and its Brand Price Match campaign helped to lure customers from rivals.

The upmarket supermarket, which is owned by John Lewis, said like-for-like sales rose 5.4 per cent between 18 December New Year’s Eve.

Total sales excluding fuel across its 288 stores were 8.8 per cent higher, breaking the £300m mark for the first time.

Waitrose last week posted sales up 7.7 per cent in the period from 4 November to 24 December, with like-for-like sales up 4.3 per cent.

Managing director Mark Price said some 250,000 extra customers visited Waitrose over the period, with recent research suggesting most of the switchover in customers was coming from Sainsbury’s.

He attributed much of Waitrose’ success to its Price Brand Match campaign, which matches Tesco on 1,000 branded products.

“Since doing that we have been consistently less expensive – around 1.5 per cent 0.5 per cent ­– than Sainsbury and the same as Tesco”, he said. He added that Duchy and Heston Blumenthal products did particularly well over Christmas.

Waitrose has held a record 4.5 per cent market share for much of the year and its performance is likely to come ahead of lacklustre trading statements from Morrisons and Sainsbury’s next week.