Waitrose sales growth was held back in the week ending February 28 by food price deflation and tough comparatives.
Sales at the grocer excluding petrol edged up 0.3% year-on-year because despite having positive volumes, falling food prices are having a “drag effect” on its sales growth.
The issue was highlighted by the falling prices of essential. Onions are now 80p a bag now compared with £1.25 last year, while butter is 95p a pack versus £1.32 a year ago.
Deflating food prices were offset by strong sales of cleaning products following Waitrose’s ‘spring clean’ campaign. Sales of sprays were up 62%, while own-brand super absorbent cloths recorded a sales increase of 163% year-on-year.
Horticulture sales also grew 9% on last year as customers prepared for warmer weather.
Respectable John Lewis sales
Meanwhile, sister retailer John Lewis reported a “very respectable” year-on-year sales increase of 7.6% during the same week.
Online trade was up 27% due to “excellent traffic to the website and good conversion rates”, which John Lewis attributed to price matching activity.
Fashion recorded a particularly solid week, up 14% as early signs of spring triggered growth across all categories.
Womenswear posted the best increase at 20% and was driven by strong sales of branded womenswear.
Electricals had a tougher week but still managed to keep sales just ahead of last year, up 0.4%.
Shoppers turning their minds to spring cleaning meant vacuum cleaners were in demand, which helped small electrical to 17% growth.