Food market remains “challenging” says Waitrose chairman

Waitrose, a 100% supporter of British pork, has reported gross sales for the six weeks including Christmas and New Year of £859.8m, up 1.2% compared with last year, although the business also reported a fall of 1.4% on sales when assessed on a like-for-like basis.

The new Waitrose figures, published today as part of the total sales report issued by the John Lewis Partnership, were described as having been part of a “strong Christmas trading period”, albeit with some reservations about the state of the food market.

“The grocery market is continuing to be challenging,” said John Lewis chairman, Sir Charlie Mayfield.

“Waitrose had record trading days leading up to Christmas, however, and good growth online, while like-for-like sales declined overall during the six-week period.

“Click and Collect continued to show the strength of our two brands working together as a proposition for customers, with 35% of John Lewis online orders collected from Waitrose branches. I was particularly pleased to see overall customer numbers increase 5.8% against the same period last year.”

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