Shopping vocabulary: Waitrose’s profitable Christmas

Waitrose is a British premium chain of supermarkets that was very profitable before Christmas. Read the text to find out why and to learn some vocabulary about shopping and supermarkets.

Waitrose is possibly the most upmarket supermarket in the UK. While Tesco’s aims at shoppers on a budget, Waitrose targets more upper class customers.
During the run-up to Xmas, Waitrose’s sales soared on account of shoppers stocking up on luxury food. Like-for-like sales were 4.3% higher compared to the seven weeks prior to Xmas day. What’s more, in the final week sales shot up by over 7% compared to the year before. Consequently, Waitrose had a record trading period unlike many other high street shops and supermarkets.

The company attributes their success to a ‘magic formula’ which included affordable prices and tons of promotions and price reductions on high quality brands and exclusive ranges. These included confectionery and baked goods such as cakes and biscuits. Waitrose also offered innovative Christmas food such as Christmas Chocolate Cake. Another strategy was their Brand Price Matching where they offered the same prices as cheaper supermarkets on basic grocery items.

Although Delia Smith has been famous for years, Heston is a newer celebrity chef. Both of them are featured on Waitrose’s cooking channel and their recipes appear in their supermarkets. This idea provides shoppers with new food options and encourages them to buy and try new products.

The company’s overall aim has been to appear as affordable and it seems to have worked. Shoppers have flocked to Waitrose supermarkets in larger numbers than before and been pleasantly surprised at just how much they have spent.

Supermarket vocabulary

expensive and aimed at higher classes
on a budget
to have limited money to spend
run-up to Xmas
the period before Xmas
stocking up on
buying large amounts of a product
like-for-like sales
directly comparable such as the sales of the same product in December in 2011 and 2012
record trading period
a time when they made the highest amount of money ever
exclusive ranges
a group of products not available anywhere else
Brand Price Matching
a strategy where a supermarket offers the same prices on some brands as in other supermarkets
strong run
a successful time period of good sales
flocked to
went to i.e. ‘customers went to their stores’
chocolate and sweets
baked goods
food which is cooked in an oven, often sweet foods like cakes and biscuits

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