Festive cheer for Waitrose

Heston Blumethal specials like his figgy pudding and chocolate cake helped Waitrose to its best Christmas period ever, the John Lewis-owned supermarket chain revealed today.

Sales from early November to Christmas Eve were up 7.7 per cent on a year ago, while 23 December was its busiest Sunday ever. Waitrose also saw a 37 per cent surge in online sales as it competed head to head with its online grocery rival Ocado for the first time within the M25.