Food sales are up 3.6% at Waitrose on a like-for-like basis. The retailer said it had increased its market share by 0.2% to 4.1% in the year ended 28 January 2012, with sales excluding VAT up 7.9% to £5.07bn.

However, operating profit was down 5.2% to £260.6m

During the period, Waitrose opened 29 new branches (14 supermarkets and 15 convenience stores), and launched three new ranges: the Love Life range of healthy meals, the You Count calorie-controlled range and the Good to Go line.

The retailer said: “Customers’ perception of value in Waitrose has risen markedly in response to the investments made over the past three years: Essential Waitrose, Brand Price Match and increased promotional participation, up by 4% to 27.8%.”

The Essential range grew by 10% over the year, with Waitrose own-label products now accounting for 54% of its sales – a 9% increase on last year.

Its online orders also rose, seeing a 34.5% increase during the period, with the service now available in 152 branches.