Belfast Telegraph

Waitrose defies rivals with festive sales rise

By Roger Baird

Upmarket supermarket Waitrose has continued to outperform the under-pressure grocery sector after figures showed a lift in Christmas sales.

The John Lewis Partnership-owned firm said like-for-like sales for the five weeks to January 3 rose 2.8% compared to a year ago, while total revenues for the period rose 7% to £728m.

The employee-owned group, which has 334 stores across the UK, with the exception of Northern Ireland, said grocery sales through jumped 26.3%.

Brokers forecast that none of Waitrose's big four rivals - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons - will post like-for-like sales rises over the Christmas period.

Waitrose is one of the winners of the ongoing supermarket price wars that has seen the big four grocers squeezed between premium grocers at one end and discounters such as Aldi and Lidl at the other.

Analysts expect the food business of upmarket Marks & Spencer to report same store sales rise of 0.9% over the Christmas period.

Waitrose managing director Mark Price called the retailer's figures a "strong sales performance in a tough trading environment".

Belfast Telegraph