While Tesco is set to be the obvious winner in capturing the bulk of the nation’s Christmas grocery spend, analysts expect Sainsbury to emerge with the best figures overall.
In a total reversal of fortunes from the previous year, when Sainsbury reported a 1.2% decline in like-for-like sales for the Christmas quarter, the number three supermarket is expected to reveal solid mid-single sales growth, excluding petrol, in its third-quarter results next Thursday (January 12). This would represent a full 12 months of growth for the retailer.
However, Chevreux analyst Mike Dennis said Sainsbury’s results would be boosted as it had come from a low base, whereas Tesco’s comparisons would be against continued strong performance. Dennis added that after Sainsbury and Tesco, Morrisons - which reports on its Christmas trading on Wednesday (January 11) - was likely to have done better than Asda, with extra floorspace from Northern Ireland and non food unlikely to have bolstered Asda’s performance significantly.
“Food would also have fared a lot better than non food over Christmas in the supermarkets, with discretionary shopping on non food slowing down,” he said.
Tesco, which reports on its Christmas trading on January 17, said both food and non food sales had been “extremely good”.
Waitrose said that weekly sales in the seven days leading up to Christmas had broken all records, with sales up 17.7% on the previous year, although that had been a six-day week.
Rachel Barnes