Waitrose sales slumped last week as the late fall of Easter “heavily distorted” the upmarket grocer’s figures.

Waitrose worcester

Waitrose worcester

Waitrose was comparing a full week in 2016 with a six-day trading week this year

The supermarket chain suffered a 4.6% drop in total sales to £120.3m in the week ending Saturday April 22, which included Easter Sunday.

Waitrose said sales suffered because it was comparing a full week in 2016 with a six-day trading week this year.

However, sister retailer John Lewis reported a 1.6% uplift in sales despite the impact of Easter.

Waitrose said cooler, sunnier weather drove an increase in sales of warmer-weather products including rosé wine and picnicware, which climbed 22% and 140% respectively.

The fresh fruit and produce categories also enjoyed a “strong” week. Sales of raspberries rose 40%, strawberries were up 28% and salad advanced 14%.

The grocer’s provenance also reaped rewards, as sales of asparagus surged 60% off the back of the launch of its British, Vale of Evesham asparagus.

Home and leisure was Waitrose’s weakest category, in which sales tumbled 11.7%.

Chilled, fruit, vegetables and horticulture and bakery recorded a 7.1% decline, while revenues from meat, fish, frozen and dairy slipped 5.3%.

John Lewis

Waitrose’s stablemate John Lewis grew total sales to £74.9m despite the late timing of Easter.

However, the department store business said it was still impacted by the loss of a trading day compared with the same week last year as fashion sales inched down 0.4%.

Despite a decline across the wider clothing division, sales of women’s casualwear continued to grow, while the swimwear and nightwear category posted a 16.9% uplift in revenues.

Childrenswear also performed strongly, driven by a 31.5% spike in sales of kids’ shoes.

John Lewis said the timing of Easter also hit revenues from its home division, which fell 5%.

But declines in those categories were offset by gift food and seasonal, which enjoyed a 7.1% jump, and 11.7% growth in electricals and home technology.

John Lewis online trade director Mark Felix said the latter was driven by “compelling promotions over the Easter period”, while new product launches drove sales of mobile and photography up 57.9%.