THE FESTIVE trading period produced mixed fortunes for supermarket retailers Waitrose and the Co-operative, which is fighting to turn itself around after a dire year for its banking arm. The Co-op's food arm, which has been steadily losing market share, gained some respite after posting a one per cent rise in like-for-like sales in 13 weeks to 4 January. The performance was helped by strong trading at its smaller convenience food stores, which posted growth of 3.2 per cent. Meanwhile Waitrose enjoyed a 3.1 per cent rise in sales in the five weeks to 24 December, hailing its "most successful Christmas on record. Î. The upmarket supermarket chain has been outperforming in recent years and squeezing middle market players such as Tesco and Morrison who are also facing pressure from discounters. Online grocery orders jumped 33.4 per cent while sales of the company's range with Heston Blumenthal rose 46 per cent.
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