Like-for-like sales increased by 2.8% at supermarket Waitrose over the Christmas period – the sixth consecutive year it has outperformed the market.

The group said yesterday that total sales for the five weeks to 3 January were £728m, up by 7% on the same period last year (excluding fuel).

Grocery sales through grew by 26.3% it added.

Mark Price, Waitrose managing director, said: “This strong sales performance in a tough trading environment is a tribute to all our partners who work so hard to give the high-quality products and outstanding service that customers want all year round and especially at Christmas.

“As a business owned by the people who work here, we can take the long-term view and our Christmas results show the effectiveness of our strategy of investing in good value, in making our shops attractive destinations and in building our online business.”