Shares in Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY) rose by 2.74% to 273.80p despite a 0.4% drop in non-fuel retail sales during the fifteen weeks ended 5 January. Grocery sales, particularly online grocery sales, rose over the period but there were falls in both clothing and general merchandising.
Group CEO Mike Coupe commented: “Christmas came late this year and I am pleased with the excellent service and availability that we gave customers across the Group. Sainsbury’s stores were well set up to deal with customers doing their big Christmas shops later than usual and Convenience stores hit a new record on Christmas Eve. Argos Fast Track offers customers market-leading delivery and grew strongly in the quarter.
“Sainsbury’s is focused on offering distinctive food at great prices. Grocery sales were solid across the quarter and our price position versus our competitors improved, with our £9 turkey crowns and 30p vegetables proving particularly popular. Groceries Online continues to perform well and, including Argos, 20 per cent of the Group’s sales started online.
“General Merchandise sales grew strongly over the key Christmas weeks and outperformed the market over the quarter. Sales declined in the quarter due to cautious customer spending and our decision to reduce promotional activity across Black Friday. Clothing performed well, with strong full price sales growth in a tough market.
“Retail markets are highly competitive and very promotional and the consumer outlook continues to be uncertain. However, we are well placed to navigate the external environment and remain focused on delivering our strategy.“