A busy week of sport drives sales of quick and easy meals
Last week saw our provisional divisional sales, excluding fuel, fall by 18.4 per cent compared with last year. Although it looks dramatic this isn’t a meaningful number as the figures are completely distorted by the fall of Easter. Pre-Easter week – one of the busiest trading weeks of the year, including Good Friday and Easter Saturday – fell in the equivalent trading week last year.
The drag effect of food price deflation on fresh produce also continues to be apparent. To put this into context, the price of an iceberg lettuce this year is 60p compared to £1 last year, and a pack of mixed peppers now costs £1 compared to £1.75 a year ago.
However, a busy week of sporting activity – with the FA cup semi-final and the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday – did drive sales of quick and easy meals.
Sales of Bighams ready meals soared by 86 per cent and Waitrose classic Traditional British meals also saw a 20 per cent increase. This also seemed to spur sales of the Waitrose food-to-go range, up 25 per cent year on year, with sushi and salads up 40 and 64 per cent respectively.
As the warm weather continued into the weekend, sales of sun care products sparkled with a 109 per cent uplift and customers enjoyed refreshing ice creams.
Hand held ices were up a mouth watering 11 per cent, driven by Waitrose Seriously Mini Italian Gelati Sticks and the Seriously Creamy Salted Caramel ice creams. Adult ice lollies also had an exceptional week, up 28 per cent year on year, with Waitrose’s new Coconut Water Lollies selling particularly well.
Shoppers appeared to be putting extra effort into their alfresco dinner parties – with lumpfish caviar, a popular choice for canapes, up 9 per cent year on year.
The early signs of summer encouraged people to spruce up their homes, Sales of outdoor accessories jumped up by 83 per cent and garden furniture sales were up 10 per cent.
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