Waitrose saw its like-for-like sales in the first half of its fiscal year outperform the market due to the UK grocer’s attempts to reach a broader range of customers through investing in value.

Like-for-likes were up 3.9%, excluding petrol, during the six months to 31 July, Waitrose said today (16 September).

Sales accelerated between the first quarter and second, growing 3.3% in the first quarter, but up 4.5% in the second quarter.

Gross sales grew 11.3% to GBP2.4bn (US$3.7bn). Operating profit, meanwhile, grew 6.2% to GBP127.8m. Underlying operating profit was up 3.1% to GBP132.6m.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, which owns Waitrose said it is now seeing the benefits from “decisions made during the recession to invest in existing shops, in new formats, in multi-channel and in ‘value’.”

Waitrose also attributed much of its success to its marketing campaign starring celebrity chefs Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal, which it said attracted 370,000 more customer transactions in the first eight weeks, with “customers putting additional items in their trolleys and spending more per transaction”.

“In Waitrose, the success of the essential range and promotional pricing, such as for the Delia and Heston campaigns, generated growth. Likewise, John Lewis has placed great emphasis on value with new ranges, a successful spring advertising campaign and the recent launch of Never Knowingly Undersold online,” Mayfield added.

Click here for the full second-quarter and first-half statement from Waitrose; check back later for further insight from the retailer’s results.