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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy