Upmarket grocer Waitrose has recorded its “most successful” ever Christmas as sales grew 7.7% in the seven weeks to December 24.

Waitrose recorded its best ever Sunday trading on December 23 as shoppers stocked up on festive goodies.

Like-for-like sales were up 4.3% in the seven week period.

The supermarket, sister retailer of department store John Lewis, said volume growth was a “key factor” in the sales uplift. The number of items sold increased 5.9% as Waitrose’s Brand Price Match chimed with shoppers.  Customer numbers grew 4.5%.

Online sales in the seven week period “saw dramatic growth”, up 37%.

Waitrose managing director Mark Price said:  “The key to our growth this Christmas has been a combination of great value and inspiring, innovative products.  This has led to increased volumes driving our sales uplift as more people shopped with us and existing customers bought additional items.

“More promotions, Brand Price Match and our essential Waitrose range mean that customers feel confident about our prices.  But it wouldn’t be Christmas without fabulous special occasion food like  Heston’s new festive products.

“Customers have been particularly savvy in their shopping patterns - with strong promotions on confectionery and bakery items more than a month before Christmas motivating them to get ahead of the game.

“Trade in the seven days before Christmas was remarkable, with 23rd December proving our busiest Sunday on record.”

Waitrose said “innovative Christmas specialities”, such as the Heston from Waitrose Hidden Sauce Figgy Pudding and the Heston from Waitrose Christmas Chocolate Cake, were among the season’s top sellers.

The supermarket’s own book -  How Rude, Modern Manners Defined which was published to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Waitrose as part of the John Lewis Partnership – was a “surprise best seller” as a festive gift.