Waitrose has reported the busiest Christmas and New Year trading period in its history as sales broke £300m for the first time.

The upmarket grocer reported sales of £300m for the “12 days of Christmas trade” from December 18 to 31 excluding Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Total sales rose 8.8% on last year and like-for-like sales were 5.4% higher.

The retailer said the strong finish to the year follows a record performance in the run-up to Christmas. Waitrose revealed last week that sales from November 4 to December 24 were up 7.7% and like-for-like sales 4.3%, representing the retailer’s biggest Christmas on record.

Waitrose managing director Mark Price said: “Our sales for the festive period as a whole have been record-breaking but the 12 trading days leading up to New Year’s Eve were exceptional as customers got ready for family entertaining and parties.  

“The combination of our inspiring celebratory food and drink together with great value and offers proved to be a winning combination.”

Price told Retail Week that December 22 had been the retailer’s busiest trading day while the retailer took £5m an hour on Sunday, December 23 which is usually the busiest trading day of the year in grocery but was restricted by Sunday trading laws.