Waitrose’s strong online sales performance in the run up to Christmas signals an area ripe for expansion. according to retail analysts Conlumino.
Total sales in December rose by 9.5% and 3.8% on a like-for-like basis but online business rocketed 49% in the seven days leading up to Christmas.
Neil Saunders, managing director of Conlumino, said: “This is a strong showing for Waitrose, especially so because it was up against some reasonably strong comparatives from last year and a background of constrained consumer finances.
“We believe the performance is testament to Waitrose’s strategy of successfully balancing the price-quality equation which allows consumers to receive value on everyday products but trade up to premium products when they wish.
“This is something that has worked throughout 2011 but comes into its own at Christmas when consumers are torn between being frugal and splashing out.
“The growth in online is a particular success story after the initial problems with the re-launch of the website,” said Saunders. “It demonstrates the potential of the internet as a growth channel for Waitrose, especially over the next year, especially within London where the service has recently been launched.”