"Record Christmas" boosts Sainsbury's sales

12 January, 2017, 00:42 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Sainsbury’s store at Christmas

Sainsbury's has said like-for-like sales edged 0.1% higher over its Christmas quarter, but warned the market remains "very competitive" and the impact of the pound on prices was "uncertain".

According to Sainsbury's Q3 trading update for the 15 weeks to 7 January 2017, the supermarket chain saw total retails up by 0.8%, with like-for-like sales up by 0.1%, as both volumes on a total and like-for-like basis remained flat.

Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe said the strong performance at its recent Argos acquisition "reinforced the case" for its £1.4bn takeover of Home Retail Group past year.

Tesco PLC, the country's biggest grocer, is slated to report its Christmas performance on Thursday.

Sainsbury's sales growth was lower than the 2.9% reported by Morrisons, which enjoyed its best Christmas in seven years.

That's why initial relief propelled Sainsbury's shares 7% higher at one point on Wednesday, but the move faded to little more than a 1% rise by the close.

Before Christmas, the retailer predicted sales of sparkling wines were expected to rise by around 500% on the Friday before Christmas to hit around 500,000 bottles, and Coupe pointed out the Blanc de Blanc Brut NV champagne was named Which?

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Sainsbury's chief executive, Mike Coupe, said, "Christmas came late".

"Clothing and General Merchandise also had a very strong quarter, with Clothing sales up ten per cent and General Merchandise up three per cent".

Its online arm reported a nine per cent lift in revenue and its convenience stores posted a six per cent rise.

Over the Black Friday period, 65% of Argos sales were taken online and a quarter of a million Fast Track deliveries made over that weekend.

Mr Coupe said supermarkets that now have an Argos digital store saw a 20% to 25% hike in total sales, and added that food sales in combined stores were enjoying a 1% to 2% boost as click-and-collect shoppers also popped in to pick up grocery items.

This comes against a backdrop of what is looking like an outright revival around the other Big 4 grocers, and was also Sainsbury's first positive like-for-like sales performance since the fourth quarter of its 2015/16 year.

Within the Sainsbury's operation, Groceries Online and Convenience channels performed well and achieved over 9% and 6% sales growth respectively.

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