Waitrose enjoyed its best Christmas on record despite the freezing weather, with like-for-like sales up 5.4% in the first 23 days of December.

Total sales were up 8.9%, and online sales up 45%. Like-for-likes were up 12.7% compared with the same week in 2008.

Premium seasonal fare such as Christmas puddings, mince pies and turkeys performed strongly, but store cupboard staples also sold well owing to the freezing weather, with lines such as long life milk and hot drinks showing double-digit growth.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride at times with big day-to-day variations in sales as customers have either stocked up ahead of the snow or caught up with their shopping as the freezing weather eased,” said Waitrose managing director Mark Price.