Page last updated at 08:44 GMT, Friday, 2 January 2009

Waitrose sees festive sales soar

Waitrose store
Waitrose has around 200 stores.

Supermarket chain Waitrose has reported a 41% surge in total sales for the week covering Christmas trading.

Takings hit 111.3m in the week to 27 December compared with 79.2m a year earlier, suggesting spending was strong despite the economic slowdown.

Waitrose's owner, John Lewis, said 23 December was the supermarket chain's busiest ever trading day.

Sales at the John Lewis department stores also rose during the week, up 1.2%, from a year before to 71m.

'Fast and furious'

"The pundits who predicted it would come fast and furious in the final week were on the money," said Patrick Lewis, the firm's department stores retail director.

The 27 John Lewis stores saw clothing sales increase by a quarter during the week, while those of home goods declined 20.5%.

Sales of electrical and technology products were down 1.2%.

The figures for both Waitrose and John Lewis sales include stores that have opened over the past year. No like-for-like data, which excludes new shop additions, has been released.

Financial data provider Experian said on Wednesday that visits to UK High Streets in the last week of December were up 12.8% compared with the same seven days in 2007.

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