Sales at upmarket grocer Waitrose boomed in Christmas week as the retailer benefitted from strong trade and favourable comparitives.

Waitrose sales rose 26.6% in the week to December 28 after enjoying “exceptionally busy” trade.

The upmarket grocer said that the fall of Christmas on a Wednesday had had a considerable “distorting effect” against 2012 when its normal busiest day – December 23 – fell on a Sunday.

Waitrose commercial director Mark Williamson said: “Despite the wind and rain in many parts of the country, we saw momentum build in the run-up to the festive holiday, with Christmas Eve and the 23rd in particular proving exceptionally busy.

“Months of preparation by partners ensured that this increase in trade during difficult circumstances was handled exceptionally well.”

The grocer said its Heston from Waitrose range performed strongly while party food sales rose 17%.

Sales of ready stuffed and jointed turkey were up by 36% while sales of seafood were strong with lobster up 106%.

Continental festive bakery products, stollen and panettone, both enjoyed impressive sales growth of 118% and 160% respectively.