Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s like-for-like retail sales slipped 0.4% (excluding fuel) in its third quarter.
Total retail sales for the 15 week period to January 9 edged up 0.8% (excluding fuel) with over 30 million customer transactions in the seven days before Christmas – an increase of 2.6% year-on-year.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said: “We have traded well during the festive period in a highly competitive market. Our stores delivered excellent levels of service and availability and we launched several new seasonal products and range improvements. As a result we have seen our market share grow in the quarter.”
He noted that the retailer reduced its levels of vouchering and promotional participation year-on-year and lowered the number of multi-buys in favour of lower regular prices, as part of its commitment to simplify prices and promotions.
Sainsbury’s opened 16 convenience stores in the quarter and had its biggest ever day for convenience sales on December 24. Grocery online sales grew at nearly 10% and orders by 15%. It had a record week in the quarter, delivering over 289,000 online orders, and now has 101 Click and Collect sites nationwide.
General Merchandise achieved sales growth of 5% in the quarter and clothing nearly 6%, despite the unseasonal weather impact.
Mike Coupe added that Sainsbury’s Christmas advertising campaign, entitled ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ was a “huge success”, with nearly 37 million online views and the exclusive ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ book topping the UK bestselling book charts for four consecutive weeks. Charitable donations from the sales of the ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ book and soft toy, on behalf of Sainsbury’s, Judith Kerr and HarperCollins Children’s Books, totalled more than £1.5m and will be donated to support Save the Children’s work to improve child literacy in the UK.
He concluded: “Given our good performance in this quarter, we now expect our like-for-like sales in the second half of the year to be better than the first. Food deflation and pressures on pricing will ensure that the market remains challenging for the foreseeable future. We will continue to remain competitive on price, and our performance this quarter provides further evidence that our strategy is working.”
Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe