Waitrose celebrating after flagging up record sales

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the barbecue spring and the royal wedding festivities have pushed record sales at Waitrose, the supermarket has announced.

National sales in the week ending Saturday April 23 were £114.7m – up 10.6 per cent on the week before Easter last year and up 24 per cent on two years ago.

Saturday’s sales were the highest of any Easter Saturday, up 15 per cent on last year.

Families stocking up for street parties for the royal wedding, Easter family entertaining and the demand for barbecue food in the April heatwave were behind the strong sales, the store said.

Sales of free range sausages were up 91 per cent compared to the week before Easter last year, and Pimms sales were up 83 per cent.

Sales of pre-ordered party food are up 50 per cent. The length of bunting sold would decorate the route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace more than 15 times.

The launch of the barbecue meat range has been brought forward a month and stocks of strawberries and cucumbers increased on the back of the warmest April on record, the store said.

Mark Price, managing director of Waitrose, said: “The celebratory mood has helped driven a very strong week’s sales, with products we’d normally associate with high summer performing exceptionally well.

“Shoppers are already stocking up for their royal wedding celebrations, whether it’s a fully fledged street party or simply a glass of English fizz with family and friends.”

Meanwhile, the head of Tesco said that he expected the economy to improve in coming months once a series of negative pressures had passed.

The Bank of England has kept interest rates at a record low for two years while the economy remains weak and analysts are watching for any signs that might prompt policymakers to raise borrowing costs.

“Things should pick up some time this year – when the commodities price (rises) lap themselves, when the VAT rise laps itself, the fuel price rise laps itself and we get through the public sector impact on jobs. The global economy actually is in recovery,” said chief executive Phil Clarke.

“Lots of things can destabilise that. Interest rate rises might be a bit unhelpful. But I am more optimistic than many. There is still investment coming into this country.”

Tesco, the world’s number three retailer with more than 5,000 stores in 14 countries, said last week it expected trading to remain challenging in Britain, but that conditions were improving in most of its other markets.

Preliminary data from the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday will show how strongly Britain’s economy rebounded in the first three months of this year from its unexpected 0.5 per cent decline at the end of 2010.

The Bank has kept rates at 0.5 per cent since March 2009.