Festive purchases fuelled a rise in sales at Waitrose last week.

The Bracknell-based grocer recorded a 5.2% increase in sales for the week to November 26 as Christmas preparations hot up.

Heston Blumenthal-branded mince pie sales are up 40% on last year, Champagne is up 109% and Delia Smith’s recommended cake cutters have experienced a 9.4% jump.

Milder weather has kept salad and fruit sales strong and seafood sales have improved 14.5% on last year’s results, when snow affected footfall.

Waitrose is promoting classic Christmas goods including smoked salmon, prosecco, prawns and other party food.

Waitrose marketing director Rupert Thomas said: “In response to customer demand for Heston’s Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding and the mini version made with a clementine, we’re working around the clock with our supplier to get more puddings on the shelves.

“Deliveries will be received this week with further deliveries arriving at the end of next week.”