'X Factor effect' boosts profits, says Sainsbury's boss

The chief executive of Sainsbury's today said the supermarket had benefited from the "X Factor effect" as customers saved money by staying in to watch their favourite TV shows.



Justin King said the retailer's Taste the Difference range had seen a sharp growth in sales since its relaunch in September, which he believed reflected a trend of consumers improving home dining rather than going out to restaurants.



The premium offering was given a £1 billion makeover earlier this year, with two-thirds of the 1,100 product range changed or improved.



Mr King said: "People are staying in rather than going out to eat. People are watching the X Factor and other TV shows but they're eating well while they're doing it."



The autumn television season boasts some of terrestrial television's most-watched shows, including The X Factor on ITV and BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.



Gemma Lovelock, retail analyst at TLC Marketing Worldwide, said the results reflected "an entrenched stay-at-home culture" over the past two to three years.



She said: "People are not just eating more at home they are also drinking more at home and the supermarkets generally are benefiting from this behavioural shift."



She added: "Instead of spending money on big-ticket items on the high street, consumers are spending more on premium food products in the supermarkets, and indulging in good food at home rather than eating out."



Mr King's comments came as Sainsbury's posted an 8% rise in half-year profits to £332 million and boasted record customer numbers.



The supermarket sector is proving increasingly competitive as cash-strapped consumers resist price hikes caused by commodity price inflation.



But Sainsbury's is one of the strongest players in the market and figures yesterday revealed it was the only one of the "big four" supermarkets to grow market share in the three months to October 31.



Mr King said customer numbers were now at an all-time high of more than 20 million transactions every week, which was up one million on last year.



Sainsbury's said it had "worked hard" to keep prices lower in the face of rising food costs, but had seen the same customers buying from both its basics and premium ranges.



The supermarket has been on an aggressive expansion drive to boost its customer base and remains on track to open 1.5 million square feet in new space during the current financial year.



In the last six months, the chain has opened or extended 29 stores, adding 540,000 square feet to its estate.



The company is also growing its convenience store business - which delivers annual sales of £1 billion - and has seen strong growth of 20% in online sales.



Mr King said its space growth momentum placed the supermarket in a good position to perform well in a challenging economic environment.



Total sales including VAT and fuel were up 7% to £11.9 billion. Sainsbury's said excluding fuel, sales grew 2% on a like-for-like basis.



Sainsbury's added that its drive for non-food business - identified as a key area for the supermarket - was still paying off and continued to grow at three times the rate of food.



It also announced the launch of a music and film digital download service in time for Christmas. It will be the first time a supermarket website will offer a full selection of films for purchase or download.



Neil Saunders, consulting director of research analyst Verdict, said many of the supermarket's initiatives, including space expansion, were beginning to bear fruit.



He said: "Sainsbury's is driving future growth through a number of initiatives. This balanced approach will help it maintain performance even as market conditions become tougher."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Developer - Watford - £45,000 - £47,000

£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Product Manager - (Financial Services) - SW London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project