waitrose fish counter staff

Waitrose’s fresh fish sales were up 11% in the week ending 16 January with uptake of some varieties more than doubling.

While overall sales (excluding fuel) were generally flat compared with the same week last year, the fresh fish counter was among the exceptions.

Sales of oily fish were up by 224%, white fish sales by 43%, salmon and trout by 30%, and smoked fish by 24%.

Waitrose personnel director Helen Hyde described as “massive” the uplift in some individual lines. These included a 214% hike in smoked cod, a 101% rise in Alaskan salmon, and a 108% rise in Cornish sardines.

Fish traditionally associated with more affordable luxury also did well, with shellfish sales jumping 37%, exotic fish sales up 19% and caviar up 29%.

This month, Waitrose has been running a 25%-off promotion at its fresh fish counters on Fridays.

Similarly, Hyde said there had been strong sales of its ready meals.

Highlights included its cottage pie, beef bourguignon and fish pie, all up by 19%, while its shepherd’s pie and lasagne dishes were up 37% and 41% respectively.

The growing popularity of venison saw sales rise 36%, with Waitrose responding to customer demand by increasing the number and distribution of venison products it stocked.

Hyde said heart-warming British dishes helped sales grow as well, with sales of Waitrose Chicken Pie 210g up by more than 50%, Waitrose Roast Chicken Pie 550g up by almost 22% and Waitrose Aberdeen Angus Steak and Ale Pie 550g increasing more than 15%.