Sainsbury's shopper in store

Source: Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s has raised its full-year profit guidance after grocery sales were up this Christmas

Sainsbury’s has committed to keeping prices low as it tackles inflationary pressures this year.

The retailer’s CEO Simon Roberts said that while it was “clear that the market has some inflation” and that this year was going to be “challenging”, he was committed to giving customers “the best value to really support them”.

“Our focus is that we will ensure we mitigate inflation as far as we possibly can, as we bring our focus on food, as we make savings in our business to reinvest in the value of our food offer, and as we work with our suppliers,” Roberts said in a press conference following the retailer’s third-quarter results announcement.

Roberts said Sainsbury’s was “the most deflationary” on the key 100 products in each retailer in Q3, according to Nielsen data, but that it was “really hard to put a number” on its own food inflation currently.

“When we look at the key products for each retailer, the discounters were passing on inflation fastest on those products.”

Following its Sainsbury’s Quality, Aldi Price Match Christmas dinner campaign, the British grocer has launched two new price value initiatives this year, including putting 2,000 lines into its Price Lock commitment as well as adding 30 new fresh lines to the Aldi Price Match campaign.

Read more: Food inflation hits home as 10,000 grocery prices soar

Roberts said the retailer had “sharpened our price positioning against our key competitors”, adding that secondary customer retention was higher as they shopped for bigger baskets, and that price perception in Sainsbury’s was 4% better than it was a year ago.

The CEO’s comments followed Sainsbury’s announcement that it was lifting its profit guidance for the year after grocery sales increased 0.1% over the six weeks to 8 January (0.8% when excluding Boxing Day) compared with the previous year, and by 6.8% against its pre-pandemic performance.

The group now expects to earn FY pre-tax profits of at least £720m, up from previous forecasts of £660m.

Roberts said: “We bought big and planned big to make sure we could deliver a really good Christmas for customers in the exceptional and sometimes unpredictable circumstances.

“And this paid off with a really strong operating performance with market share gains and with strong sales over the peak days as customers traded up to treat themselves over Christmas and bought into our Christmas value campaign.”