Waitrose sales jumped 6.7% against last week in the seven days to Saturday December 15 as Christmas preparations accelerated.

However, year-on-year figures edged up only 0.6% although the grocer said this was distorted by the fall off Christmas last year. Last year would have included the last full day of Saturday trading before the big day.

Year-on-year transactions were up 3.6% over the week.

Waitrose said its “deep promotions” on champagne proved popular, with sales of fizz doubling week-on-week. Offers on smoked salmon and party foods also stimulated sales.

Waitrose supply chain director David Jones said: “Every 80 seconds a Waitrose lorry, packed with festive food and drink was arriving at one of our branches to keep up with building customer demand.

“Many customers opted to avoid the freezing conditions and fog entirely by shopping online instead. Last week our drivers were delivering to customers’ homes on average once every 18 seconds, with total online grocery sales up 39% compared to last year.”

The grocer said shoppers are going all out when choosing their Christmas puddings this year, with the Heston from Waitrose range proving ever popular. Sales from the range soared 60% over the week and the Heston from Waitrose Hidden Sauce Figgy Pudding is poised to sell out before Christmas after only going on sale last week.

The puddings have even been listed on eBay, with asking prices reaching £250.
Thrifty alternatives to the traditional Christmas lunch have gained in popularity with sales of the grocer’s £6.99 whole cooked frozen lobster rocketing 165% week-on-week.

Meanwhile, ale drinkers have been out in force to pick up their Christmas tipples. Bottled ales are up 38% year-on-year with demand for winter warmers such as Meantime Brewery’s Chocolate Porter and IPA rocketing 400% and 500% respectively.