Waitrose saw grocery sales increase by 9.5% during December, with customers buying 53% more Christmas puddings than last year, said the firm.

The supermarket also saw rocketing sales in the week before Christmas, its highest ever sales for a single week of trading.

According to Waitrose, premium Christmas puddings were the most popular choice, with Heston Blumenthal’s Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding again the must-have this Christmas. His new mini-version, featuring a hidden clementine, also performed well, said the retailer.

The Waitrose Rémy Martin Christmas pudding saw sales increase 20%, while Heston’s new specialities – the Black Forest Buche and Popping Candy Tart proved very popular as alternatives to the traditional Christmas pudding.

Total mince pie sales were up by more than a third, with Heston’s Puff Pastry Mince Pies leading the way in terms of sales – by Christmas Eve more than 2.4 million had been sold.

Mark Price, managing director, Waitrose, commented: “More customers than ever before shopped across all our ranges this Christmas, from luxurious festive fare to essential Waitrose trimmings. We’ve had a very strong Christmas.”

Analyst Verdict said new stores and an improved website provided strong total growth for the retailer, in addition to strong marketing messages and its innovative festive offer.

However Cliona Lynch, senior retail analyst at Verdict, said the driving force behind Waitrose’s increased sales for Christmas 2011 was the continuing consumer desire to trade up. “Consumers increased spend on entertaining at home to compensate for less disposable income in dining out over the festive season.

“The quality and added value associated with Waitrose’s Christmas offer negated some of the shopper price sensitivity which has risen with inflation throughout 2011.”