John Lewis’ Waitrose Beats Sainsbury’s in Christmas Sales Rush
John Lewis’ Waitrose Beats Sainsbury’s in Christmas Sales RushReuters

John Lewis' upmarket grocer chain, Waitrose, beat its rival Sainsbury in the battle for Christmas sales after the group posted a 3.1% rise for the festive period.

According to the food retailer's latest trading update, for the five week period ending on 24 December, underlying sales excluding fuel were 3.1%, compared with a 0.2% rise in underlying sales at Sainsbury's over the fourteen weeks to 4 January, its Christmas quarter.

Waitrose's total sales, which includes new stores' figures, rose 5.4% to £736m (€888m, $1.21bn) after online grocery shopping sales surged by 33%.

Much like Sainsbury's report, Waitrose said sales of its premium ranges soared. Its Heston brand grew by 46%.

Elsewhere, British grocer J Sainsbury revealed that Christmas sales were boosted by an influx of customers snapping up products from its luxury food range called Taste the Difference, redeeming loyalty points, and by using its online services.

According to Sainsbury's third quarter trading update, sales at stores open over a year rose 0.2%, excluding fuel, in the 14 weeks to 4 January. Total third quarter sales rose 2.7%, excluding fuel.

Its premium priced branded food products, Taste the Difference, grew strongly at over 10%, performing particularly well over the Christmas period.

For example, it sold more than 100,000 Taste the Difference fresh turkeys and turkey crowns while the Christmas food ordering service saw over 100,000 orders, up 24% year-on-year.