The warm weather in late summer has kept food sales buoyant with a top line growth across all of food, drink and non foods of 5.8% for the 12 weeks to October 4[Source: Scantrack].

The recent ACNielsen Homescan figures also confirm that Tesco and Asda continue to grow market share - both against the early summer period and against this time last year. It seems that troubled times continue for Sainsbury. Its most recent trading statement confirms a relatively poor recent sales performance. However, while it is now number three behind Tesco and Asda using the ACNielsen Total Till read of the market, and now a 1% point adrift of Asda, we can see that Sainsbury still continues to hold the number two slot in sales of all grocery (food) products as illustrated in the graph below with a share of 15.2% to Asda’s 13.9%.

This comes on the back of news that Asda is to start selling major electrical brands in the run-up to the festive season. Indeed non-food sales will continue to grow as customers start to buy their annual gifts for Christmas.

Sainsbury is beginning to allocate more space and range to non-food items, but this may not have a significant sales impact in the run up to Christmas but is clearly an incremental opportunity for next year.

Through more detailed analysis of ACNielsen consumer panel data we also see that Sainsbury shoppers are maintaining their average spend per visit but increasing shopper penetration and frequency of visit remains a challenge as their shoppers continue to use other retailers and a range of stores for their shopping needs.

This suggests that the faster rollout of formats such as Local and a wider non-food range in the core chain will meet the needs and expectations of the Sainsbury shopper.