Eat, drink and be very extravagant: UK shoppers embrace Waitrose and Sainsbury’s high-end brands

Shopping habits show Britons are regaining a taste for the finer things in life

The age of austerity might not be over yet, but our food shopping habits over the festive period indicate that Britons are regaining a taste for the finer things in life.

Waitrose and Sainsbury’s saw shoppers hone in on their luxury brands over Christmas, while wine seller Majestics said customers were particularly fond of fine wines costing £20 or more a bottle.

Bryan Roberts, insights director at retail analysts Kantar, said: “Times might still be tough for people, but they don’t want their noses rubbed in it and want to enjoy quality food and time when they are with their families.

“It’s generally been the case historically that people save up for Christmas and will trade up from their traditional household supermarket of choice, to a more upmarket destination.”

But supermarkets have now got wise to this tradition and are attempting to lure customers back by improving their top-end ranges.

On Wednesday Sainsbury’s revealed it had a record Christmas, taking £17m in just one hour on 23 December. It said this was partly explained by its revamped Taste the Difference range. It sold more than 100,000 Taste the Difference turkeys and turkey crowns and said sales of its premium brand were up 10 per cent on last year, giving it a boost in sales for the ninth Christmas in a row. Over at Waitrose, bosses toasted their best Christmas ever with sales up 5.4 per cent to £736m in the five weeks leading up to the big day compared with 2012.

The upmarket grocer’s link-up with Heston Blumenthal continued to draw foodies in, with 2.25 million Heston chocolates eaten over Christmas, with Black Forest gateau, mandarin caramel truffles and thyme and rosemary-infused truffles the best sellers.

Even discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl focused their advertising campaigns on taste rather than price.

Lidl said its deluxe range was expected to be up 50 per cent while Aldi used its TV ads to boast that it had won awards for its mince pies and was voted supermarket of the year.

Sainsbury’s chief executive, Justin King, said: “The discounters are very different to where they were five years ago. I know it’s easy to characterise it as hard-pressed customers going to discounters, but what was different was they advertised their quality.”

Asda and Tesco have also revamped their top-end ranges. Asda’s Extra Special range is developed with Leith’s School of Food and Wine and saw customers trading up with 750,000 bottles of own-brand champagne sold, and 70,000 packs of Extra Special Smoked Salmon flying off the shelves.

Meanwhile, Majestic saw sales jump 5.9 per cent in the last 10 weeks, with South African and Argentinian wines selling particularly well.

Chief executive Steve Lewis said: “This Christmas, helped by our knowledgeable staff, customers chose to treat themselves and we saw strong growth in sales of fine wine above £20 per bottle.”

Even Marks & Spencer, which had a dreadful Christmas in womenswear, had a solid time in food. However, not everyone on the high street has seen customers trading up for a bit of luxury and quality. The department store Debenhams admitted it had a terrible time and was forced to offer heavy discounts for its wares.

Over at Mothercare, bosses also said the festive period was a whitewash, with fewer toys being sold, its website failing to draw the necessary number of customers, and heavy discounting forcing profits downwards.

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Client Services Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor