Waitrose has thanked rival Marks & Spencer for giving it an unexpected boost after an advertising campaign comparing prices at the two chains lifted sales of its tea bags, pasta and sausages.

Sales of Waitrose’s Essential range increased 17% by value and 24% by volume during the supermarket’s best week of sales growth since 2006.

Waitrose, which is owned by the John Lewis Partnership, said it believed trading last week was “particularly sparkling” because the M&S campaign highlighted the value of its Essential products. Among the products featured in the comparison ads, sales of packs of 80 teabags rose by 96% year on year, while penne pasta, sausages, spaghetti and teacakes all enjoyed growth of more than 40%.

The M&S advert shows a series of products, with M&S either matching or beating the Waitrose Essentials product on price.

Commercial director Richard Hodgson said: “The Essential range has been hugely successful since its launch earlier this year but last week’s performance was particularly sparkling.

“Maybe we should be thanking the M&S marketing department for highlighting both the quality and value of our essential Waitrose range in its high-profile advertising campaign.”

Overall, Waitrose sales were up 17.1% in the week to £90.4 million.

Full story from the PA

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