Upmarket store chain emerges a winner after reporting best festive trading season

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UPMARKET northern supermarket chain Booths emerged a Christmas retail winner after reporting its best ever festive trading season.

The company, which has stores in Ilkley, Ripon and Settle, reported a six per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the three weeks covering the last two weeks of 2013 and the first week of 2014.

The family-owned regional food and drink retailer said the increase was due to a number of factors including customers planning ahead, their decision to select the best produce and their use of Booths’ reserve and collect service.

Chairman Edwin Booth said: “We launched our Christmas marketing campaign early this year with the delivery of our Christmas Book, which inspired customers to plan ahead and order early.

“The 180-page book illustrated our Christmas lines beautifully and resulted in a pre-order sales increase of 22 per cent with customers ordering in advance for Christmas Day.”

The Christmas Book launch followed the introduction of a Booths Card in the late summer, which the firm said is reaping dividends with 60 per cent of pre orders coming from card holders. Online orders increased significantly as well, up by a third on last year.

“Customers care about quality and provenance at Christmas,” said Mr Booth.

“They want to know they are buying the best. They want something exceptional to serve, made by someone who cares about the food they produce.”

He added that sales of premium turkeys and geese were robust.

“Alongside this, we achieved good growth in sales of alternative Christmas dinners like venison, Herdwick mutton and three bird roasts,” he said.

“People come to Booths for the best. They trust our quality and our commitment to find the very best suppliers that are producing exceptional food. We made it easier to order online and collect in advance of the Christmas Day.”

The company said that its customers rely on it to stock outstanding and good value food and drink.

“We’ve been mindful that budgets have been tight and kept prices affordable without compromising premium quality,” said Mr Booth.

“We have a canny Northern consumer base. They keep us on our toes in terms of service, price and quality. They expect the best from Booths, and this Christmas we delivered just that.”

Booths was boosted by the launch of a Price Match campaign last month, aimed exclusively at Booths cardholders.

Under the scheme Booths has promised to compare and match the prices of its branded groceries with those at Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.

The campaign was launched to reassure customers that they won’t pay more for branded goods if they shop at Booths as well as rewarding loyal customers.

If customers pay more for their groceries at Booths, Price Match refunds cardholders with the difference in price.

Mr Booth said, “Booths has an unrivalled reputation for retailing quality food and drink. Our Price Match campaign gives customers the confidence and reassurance that Booths offers value for money alongside unparalleled quality and service.

“People come to Booths for great tasting food and drink, and now we can guarantee that on goods like washing powder and baked beans, we’re able to match the market price.

“We take great pride in the quality of service at Booths. With our Price Match campaign, the Booths shopping experience has become a whole lot more affordable.

“We want our regular customers to continue to be able to buy the best the while saving money on the essentials.”

To qualify for Price Match, customers must use their Booths card when they shop and spend a total of £20 after any discounts, promotions or vouchers have been applied.

The rewards from Price Match appear on Booths’ cardholder accounts. When the rewards reach £5, Booths will send customers a Booths voucher through the post to spend at Booths on their next shop.

Prices are matched weekly.

Booths had a strong year in 2013 after deciding to walk away from the supermarkets’ price war.

The group reported sales growth of two per cent in the year to March 31 to £279m.

The business achieved its growth and per

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