Waitrose has revealed a 1.2% fall in like-for-like sales over the six-week Christmas period.  

Like-for-likes fell between November 28 and January 2, but total gross sales were up by 1.2% to £859m.

The fall in like-for-like sales was due to the continuingly challenging grocery market, according to Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership. But he said an increase in online shopping contributed to record trading days for Waitrose in the run up to Christmas.

Waitrose managing director Mark Price said: “Although it came very late, with a concentration of trade in the three days immediately before 25 December, we had a profitable Christmas with good margins and our costs well controlled.

“There was no festive easing of the tough market conditions we’ve seen throughout 2015 and it was thanks to the incredible efforts of our partners that we achieved some record trading days and saw strong online growth.”