Waitrose commercial director Mark Williamson said: "Total sales excluding fuel were 10.2 per cent higher than last year, with comparisons boosted by the earlier fall of Mothering Sunday.
"Our shops saw their biggest ever day of flower sales on Saturday. Compared to the equivalent day last year sales were 13 per cent higher.
"Although the weather still feels far from spring-like, our strawberry growers have already managed to get strawberries on to shelves. Our long-term producer Harry Hall has been working with us for more than 20 years, and this year has supplied British berries to our shops from last Friday, 4 March. Our total fresh produce sales for the week were 20 per cent higher than last year."Garden centres had good returns in cafes and on cut flowers at the weekend, but outdoor plant sales have yet to start in earnest.