Upmarket retailer reaps the benefits of cracking the availability challenge
Waitrose has bucked the Christmas gloom by increasing sales 18 .2 per cent in the seven weeks to January 8, compared with the same period last year. Like-for-like sales were up by 3.6 per cent.

In the week to December 25, Waitrose is understood to have seen£100.6 million go through the tills and there was a 49.9 per cent increase in sales on the equivalent period in 2003. This is the first time the retailer has broken the£100 million mark in one trading week.

Waitrose managing director Steven Esom put the retailer's success during the period to keeping the shelves stocked, and to the sales boost from former Morrisons stores. He said: 'Waitrose has really delivered in the face of an extremely competitive environment, getting food to the right place, at the right time and in the right quantity to meet demand. Our shelves have been fully stocked throughout the busy Christmas period, ensuring customers were able to find exactly what they wanted.'