waitrose and partners lorry

In the full week prior to Christmas, ending 22 December, sales however slumped 11.7%

Waitrose sales surged 19.2% over the Christmas week, as the John Lewis Partnership group saw total sales jump 11.1% to £279.7m.

Sales at the premium supermarket were “in line with expectations” for the week ending 29 December, but were heavily distorted by the timing of Christmas and New Year compared to 2017, the retailer said in its weekly trading update.

In the full week prior to Christmas, ending 22 December, sales however slumped 11.7% compared to the equivalent week in 2017.

Sales figures for both weeks matched expectations, but a “more meaningful picture” will be revealed when six figure sales up to 29 December are announced next week.

Cumulative sales for the past 22 weeks in the second half of its financial year fell 0.8% compared to the previous year. This represents a declining rate of sales from the retailer’s performance after 20 weeks, when year-on-year sales were down 0.7%.

“As always at this time of year, our sales figures are heavily distorted by the fall of Christmas and New Year,” commented Mark Gifford, Waitrose partner and director for shop trading.

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“Divisional sales for the week concluding December 29th were up by 19.2% while sales for the week ending December 22nd were down 11.7% compared with the equivalent weeks last year.”

The John Lewis Partnership reported a 0.5% decline in cumulative sales for the 22-week period, compared to the previous year.

Total sales for the week had grown 11.1% to £297.7m on the back of more modest growth for the group’s department store business.

John Lewis & Partners recorded “very strong sales on Christmas Eve” and a “confident start to clearance sales online and in shops” after Christmas, it said.

Weekly sales rose 4.5% against 2017, driven by 10.7% increase in fashion sales despite being impacted by a 2.3% decline in homeware.