Weather keeps Waitrose guessing

Total divisional sales last week (to July 19), excluding petrol, were up 1.8% at the supermarket chain compared with last year, when a high level of promotional activity and a heatwave during the same week last year spurred double digit growth, ensuring the comparatives continue to be tough.

Weather keeps Waitrose guessing

Waitrose marketing director Rupert Thomas said: “This week may have felt muggy but last year it was in fact warmer and drier. As a result we’ve seen sales trends that we’re more used to in the colder months. Yorkshire puddings for instance, normally reserved for Sunday roasts, were up by 100%, while roasting beef, on promotion, was up 420% compared with last year and vegetables were up 7%.”

On the other hand, packet soups and fresh soup were up by 55% and 20% respectively. Teas and coffees also enjoyed a surprise summer surge as demand for hot beverages rose 35%. Dark spirits, like whisky, saw a 20% jump in the relatively cooler weather.

Another aspect of British summer weather – its changeability – also led to a sales spike. As the rain came down, the brollies went up – leading to umbrella sales surging 400%.

With new research showing that 70% of teachers commonly receive alcohol as an end-of-year gift from their pupils, those appeared to have been going with a fizz. While wines enjoyed a 6.7% rise in sales last week, champagne and sparkling wines were up by 26% and 14% respectively.

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