Sainsbury's Christmas

Sainsbury’s has reported a record Christmas, but its like-for-like sales growth slows to 0.9%, excluding fuel.

Total sales in the 14 weeks to 5 January rose 3.3% excluding fuel.

The slowdown in sales is against tough comparatives the year before, when Sainsbury’s chalked up like-for-like sales of 2.1%, excluding fuel, in the 14 weeks to 7 January 2012.

CEO Justin King said Sainsbury’s had served a record number of customers during the quarter. The week before Christmas was its strongest trading week ever, with customer transactions exceeding 27 million, and it took a record breaking £16m of sales in one hour between 12pm and 1pm on 23 December. It also took over £100m of sales on Christmas Eve.

Its convenience business grew by more than 17% during the quarter, online by more than 15% and clothing by more than 10%. Small electricals grew more than 24% year-on-year and cookware was up nearly 15%.

“We expect the challenging economic backdrop to persist, with customers looking to rebalance their household budget after the festivities and so spending cautiously in the first few months of 2013,” King said.

“By continuing to help our customers to Live Well For Less through our ongoing commitment to great food, Brand Match, competitive pricing and targeted promotions via Nectar and coupon-at-till we are positioned to perform well over the next quarter,” he added.

Yesterday, data from Kantar Worldpanel revealed Sainsbury’s was the only one of the big four supermarkets to increase its market share in the run up to Christmas – from 17% to 17.1%. Sales rose 3.4% in the 12 weeks to 23 December 2012.