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English and Welsh wine sales bring Xmas cheer at Waitrose

Published:  06 January, 2016

Sales of English and Welsh wines at Waitrose were up 8.5% year on year in the six weeks to January 2, the upscale multiple retailer has reported.

Gross sales at the company were up 1.2% to £859.8m, with online sales up 7.9%.

Sales through direct service websites meanwhile, among them the Waitrose Cellar wine store, grew by 28.1%.

Overall, however, the picture was more mixed. Like-for-like sales at the retailer were down 1.4%.

Trade peaked later than usual last year, with the multiple notching record trading days on 23 and 24 December, with sales up 6.0% and up 5.5% respectively year on year.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: "This has been a strong Christmas trading period for the partnership despite the grocery market continuing to be challenging.

"Waitrose had record trading days leading up to Christmas and good growth online.

"I was particularly pleased to see overall customer numbers increase 5.8% against the same period last year.

"Our performance reflects to a large extent the significant investment we have made in our distribution and IT capability. Despite the fact trade was even more concentrated across a number of very busy shopping days, our operations performed especially well."

Sales at John Lewis were up 6.9% to £951.3m, representing 5.1% growth on a like-for-like basis.

Connor Campbell, senior market analyst at, said: "Despite parent company John Lewis having a surprisingly strong Christmas, Waitrose couldn't manage a holiday bump.

"In fact, the swanky supermarket saw its like-for like-sales slump by 1.4% year-on-year over the Xmas period, dragging Ocado Group - which Waitrose supplies - down by 4% to a fresh 14-month low.

"Yet Waitrose did manage a overall sales increase of 1.2%, something that its bigger rivals may struggle to match when they report in the coming weeks."