Sainsbury's sales fall 1.7% in Christmas quarter
Sainsburys saw its like-for-like sales excluding fuel slip by 1.7% in its third quarter as it warned that the rest of the financial year will remain challenging.
In the 14 weeks to 3 January, total sales fell by 0.4% excluding fuel.
However, the supermarket enjoyed a record-breaking week before Christmas with over 29.5 million customer transactions.
The supermarket’s convenience business performed well in the period with growth of over 16%. In addition to seeing over six million convenience customer transactions in the week before Christmas, Sainsbury’s also achieved its biggest ever day for convenience sales on 24 December with sales of over £8 million.
Meanwhile, the online groceries business enjoyed its biggest Christmas to date with 110,000 orders delivered in the three days to 23 December.
Clothing and merchandise sales climbed by 10% year-on-year as the supermarket sold more than twice the number of Christmas jumpers compared to last year.
Sainsbury’s opened 25 new convenience stores and refurbished a further seven in the quarter. It also opened four new supermarkets, one extension and one replacement store, and refurbished seven supermarkets.
The supermarket’s performance in the quarter represented an improvement on the second quarter, when like-for-like sales excluding fuel fell 2.8%.
Looking ahead, Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said: “The outlook for the remainder of the financial year is set to remain challenging, with food price deflation likely to continue. Our performance in the third quarter showed an improving trend quarter-on-quarter. However, given the uncertainty in the trading environment, food price deflation and the price reductions we announced this week, we currently expect our fourth quarter like-for-like to be similar to that of our first half.
"Our prices versus our supermarket peers have never been better and alongside our differentiated quality and service offer, we are confident we will help our customers Live Well for Less throughout 2015."
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