Upmarket foodies boost Sainsbury's festive sales
Sainsbury's has hailed a "record" Christmas after the grocer delivered third-quarter sales ahead of City expectations, driven by a surge in customer transactions and hard-pressed customers treating themselves to champagne and premium turkeys.
The grocer also said growth at its convenience stores had outstripped its bigger supermarkets and that general merchandise sales continued to grow ahead of food, boosted by strong demand for its Tu womenswear designed by the TV celebrity Gok Wan.
Justin King, the chief executive, pointed out that unlike its listed grocery rivals, Tesco and Morrisons, it was reporting a full quarter, as opposed to just the "shorter, bouncier" Christmas period. Sainsbury's posted a 2.1 per cent rise in underlying sales, excluding petrol, over the 14 weeks to 7 January, which was ahead of City forecasts of a 2 per cent rise. But when the 0.9 per cent impact of VAT is stripped out, Sainsbury's underlying sales rose by a more modest 1.2 per cent.
Mr King said: "Quite clearly that result places us as the Christmas winner in grocery."
Morrisons posted sales growth of 0.7 per cent, excluding fuel and VAT, over the six weeks to 1 January.
Mr King said: "We are a good stretch ahead of Morrisons on any comparable basis," adding this was supported by recent industry data.
According to Kantar, Sainsbury's grew sales by 5.5 per cent over the 12 weeks to 25 December. This was ahead of the 3.3 per cent growth at Tesco and Morrisons' 5.1 per cent but behind Asda's 7.3 per cent, which appears to be back in the groove after its integration of the Netto stores it acquired.
Tesco is expected to confirm its status as the festive laggard of the big four grocers today by posting UK underlying sales down by up to 2 per cent.
Sainsbury's said customers had traded up to "special products" over Christmas, with champagne sales up 10 per cent and its Taste the Difference items, such as its Norfolk Black Free Range turkeys, growing by a similar amount.
The grocer's Basics value range also "grew strongly", showing how shoppers were managing their budgets tightly. Total sales rose by 4.5 per cent, excluding fuel, driven by a 1.5 million rise in customer transactions to a record 26 million over the seven days to 24 December.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Tube strike July 2015: Is it still on? Everything you need to know about the industrial action
Eiji Tsuburaya: Godzilla co-creator honoured in today's interactive Google Doodle
Florida teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing three pupils
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...