Waitrose reported record trading days on 23 and 24 December, despite the challenging grocery market. 

Gross sales (excluding fuel) were £859.8m, up 1.2% compared with last year and down 1.4% on a like-for-like basis.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said of the news: “This has been a strong Christmas trading period for the Partnership despite the grocery market continuing to be challenging… Waitrose had record trading days leading up to Christmas and good growth online, while like-for-like sales declined overall during the six-week period.”

Sales growth

Peak trade came particularly late this year and was more concentrated than usual in the two days before Christmas Day, when sales were up 6.0% and 5.5% respectively.

Strong online sales growth was also recorded, with grocery sales up 7.9% and sales over the Christmas and New Year weeks up 9.8%. Sales through direct services websites – including wines, hampers, flowers and kitchen gadgets – grew by 28.1%.