A long Easter weekend and the brighter, warmer weather have driven trade, with provisional divisional sales (excluding fuel) up 22.8 per cent compared to the same week last year. Compared to Easter Week 2014 (13-19 April) total branch sales were up 1.2 per cent.
Customers were treating others and possibly themselves; Easter confectionery sales rose 7 per cent. The Heston from Waitrose Dark Chocolate Egg was popular with customers and reviewers alike. Sales of the egg, which boasts a shell that shimmers with edible gold dust, jumped 150 per cent. The egg was also named the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Best Easter Egg for Grown-ups, along with the bestselling Waitrose Caramel Fudge Chocolate Egg, which was crowned the Institute’s overall winning egg.
It wasn’t all chocolate, though. We had our best ever Easter for non-food, which was up 16 per cent on last year and saw record demand for Easter bonnets and soft plush toys.
Customers were clearly inspired in their homes and gardens. Sales of Easter flowers and plants grew 32 per cent, while homebaking equipment saw an 8 per cent rise. Demand for eggs jumped by 10 per cent. And for those not wanting to start from scratch in the kitchen, our Simnel cake proved popular with sales rocketing 130 per cent, while hot cross bun sales rose 13 per cent compared to last year.
Lamb legs and Aberdeen Angus roasting beef were the most popular roasting joints, with a sales rise of 11.5 and 13.7 per cent respectively and Scottish salmon fillets had a 50 per cent surge in sales.
The giving of Easter greeting cards is a growing trend. Sales were up by 10 per cent and even overtook sales of Birthday cards.
The leisurely weekend meant people indulged more in their morning brew. Sales of roast and ground coffees were up 38 per cent. Customers were, perhaps, also preparing for visits from guests with household cleaning products up 12 per cent.
The warmer weather at the end of the bank holiday weekend also helped spur a 24 per cent rise in sales of rosé wines. Likewise, strawberries saw a 32 per cent rise, and we recently announced being the first supermarket this year to stock English strawberries.
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