Sainsbury's like-for-likes slip in fourth quarter but growth at Argos is strong
Sainsbury’s has reported a 0.5% fall in fourth quarter like-for-like sales at its supermarkets but like-for-like sales at its Argos chain rose by 4.3%.
Total sales, excluding fuel, rose by 0.1% at Sainsbury’s in the nine weeks to 11 March. Total sales at Argos were up 3.8%.
Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s group chief executive, said: "We are pleased with this performance and are making good progress against our key priorities. Customers appreciate the quality, choice and value of our differentiated food offer and our Tu clothing brand again performed ahead of the market, with sales up 5%.
"Argos delivered another strong quarter of growth, with like-for-like sales up by over 4%, We are investing in digital to deliver excellent service and availability, with enhancements to the Argos website and app. Online participation is growing, driven by mobile and Fast Track delivery and customers are responding well to new ranges."
The group said it is continuing to improve the quality and range of its food, clothing and general merchandise products at its Sainsbury’s supermarkets.
Online grocery sales climbed by 7% in the period with orders up 8% while the Sainsbury’s convenience business delivered total sales growth of nearly 7% as it opened ten convenience stores in the quarter.
However, general merchandise sales were down by 4% as trade was impacted by this year's later fall of Mother's Day and Easter.
During the period, the group opened a further 11 Argos digital stores in Sainsbury's supermarkets, bringing the total to 41. It also launched a further Mini Habitat store in a Sainsbury's store.
Looking ahead, Coupe added: "The market remains very competitive and the impact of cost price pressures remains uncertain. However, we are well placed to navigate the external environment and remain focused on delivering our strategy."
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