As retailers unveiled mixed trading results this week, Sainsbury's trounced rivals, posting a 3.6% increase in like-for-like sales for the 14 weeks to 8 January, and total sales growth of 6%.
Although many retailers, including Tesco and The Co-operative Group, blamed snow for their subdued performance, Sainsbury's CEO Justin King said it had actually helped increase non-food sales as shoppers bought gifts while food shopping.
"It is wrong to talk about the snow impact," he said. "I think it is more helpful talking about who did a better job coping with it."
Ocado CEO Tim Steiner, who said the online retailer's sales rose 26.7% in the four weeks to Boxing Day, agreed: "These are no longer unusual conditions, so we made sure we were not caught out and the results show it paid off," he said.
Only wholesaler Booker bettered these results, though the update was over a 16-week period.
In the meantime, the Co-op Group blamed both the snow and its ongoing conversion of Somerfield stores for reduced sales, with like-for-like food sales slumping 3.2% in the 13 weeks to 1 January. "The weather created logistical issues for our food stores, particularly given the sheer scale of our estate," said CEO Peter Marks. The society has 3,000 stores and delivers to a further 1,000 Co-operative Retail Trading Group stores.