Retail

UK Retailer Waitrose Sees Like-For-Like Sales Decline In H1

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Upmarket UK grocer Waitrose has seen its gross sales rise by 2.2% in the first half of the year, according to half year figures released by parent company John Lewis Partnership today (15 September).

However, like-for-like sales at Waitrose decreased 1.0% in the period.

Online sales at the grocer rose by 4.3%. Operating profit before exceptional items was down 10.5% to £121.3 million.

Waitrose opened seven new branches in the first half of the year, including five core supermarkets and two convenience branches. Overall, John Lewis Partnership posted gross sales growth of 3.1% in the period.

"The UK grocery market remains a harsh commercial climate as the likelihood of price inflation is snuffed out by the ongoing price wars biting into retailer margins, however, Waitrose is able to mitigate a portion of the damage done to margins because of its consumer base which is comparatively less price sensitive," commented Michael Coombs, Analyst at Verdict Retail.

"Moreover, Waitrose remains under threat from the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s as they look to compete at both the top and bottom end of the grocery market, prompting Waitrose to retaliate by introducing the Waitrose 1 premium range of goods with the aim of reaffirming wavering shoppers of Waitrose’s authority as a product quality specialist."

© 2016 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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