Grocer Waitrose has reported sales exceeding £3bn in its first half for the first time ever, according to boss Mark Price.

Price said Waitrose had reached the milestone after achieving sales growth that has been “significantly and consistently ahead of the market” for more than four years.

Sales increased 11% in the first half of the year to July 27. More detail on the performance will be provided when Waitrose updates on its interim results in September.

Last week, sales were up 4.1% to £114.81m, despite facing “particularly tough comparatives with the equivalent week last year when we had the first sustained period of hot weather of the summer and the excitement for the Olympics had started to build”, according to Price.

Last week, Waitrose sales were driven by Food to Go, with the school summer holidays “now in full swing”.

“Holiday activities for children clearly included home baking”, which was up 13% overall, said Price.

He said the Heston Blumethal TV advert resulted in an “amazing” 2,460% uplift in sales of the chef’s salted caramel popcorn ice cream.

Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games at the weekend prompted a 34% uplift in world beers and a 10% rise in sparkling wine.