Sainsbury's reports best ever Christmas despite flat Q3 like-for-like sales
Sainsburys enjoyed its busiest ever trading week in the seven days prior to Christmas despite what it described as a very tough market.
However, third quarter like-for like sales in the 14 weeks to 4 January 2014 grew by just 0.2%, excluding fuel, while total sales rose by 2.7%.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King said: "This quarter has been characterised by a very tough sales environment throughout October and November, with customers saving up in order to treat their families over the Christmas period. However, we saw strong sales in the key period over Christmas, helping record numbers of customers to Live Well for Less. Like-for-like sales excluding fuel of 0.2%, coupled with a strong contribution from new space, led to our best Christmas ever.”
During the seven days prior to Christmas, the supermarket processed a record 28 million transactions. Monday 23 December was the busiest trading day and saw the biggest trading hour, with customers spending nearly £17 million. Also on 23 December, the supermarket’s Stanway shop in Essex became the first ever Sainsbury’s store to take £1 million in sales in one day.
Sainsbury’s said sales of its own brand Taste the Difference products had grown by over 10% in the quarter and had performed particularly well over the Christmas period. The supermarket sold more than 100,000 Taste the Difference fresh turkeys and turkey crowns over the festive period while its Christmas food ordering service saw a 24% increase in the number of orders.
In its non-food business Sainsbury’s sold over 250,000 Christmas jumpers and more than 300,000 onesies.
The supermarket’s convenience business, which is growing by nearly 18%, enjoyed its biggest ever sales day on Christmas Eve with sales of nearly £7 million. The online grocery business grew by over 10% in the quarter, and on 22 December saw its strongest ever trading day with sales of over £5 million.
During the quarter, Sainsbury’s added over 555,000 square feet of new space, comprised of six supermarkets, four extensions, and 19 convenience stores. In addition, five supermarkets and 11 convenience stores were refurbished in the quarter. The supermarket said its remained on-track to deliver its target of around a million square feet of new space by the end of the year.
King added: “As with last year, we expect customers to spend cautiously in the few months following Christmas, in an attempt to rebalance the household finances. The general economic backdrop remains uncertain for many families, so helping them to Live Well for Less remains the key to continuing our market outperformance."
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