Mike Coupe, J Sainsbury Plc (LON:SBRY) Chief Executive, said: “Sainsbury’s offered customers greater quality food, choice and value than ever before, across all channels. We had a record Christmas week, with over 30 million customer transactions at Sainsbury’s and over £1 billion of sales across the Group. Thanks to the commitment of all our colleagues, we delivered an excellent shopping experience and helped our customers live well for less over the festive period.
“Clothing and General Merchandise also had a very strong quarter, with Clothing sales up ten per cent and General Merchandise up three per cent.
“At Argos we delivered strong growth in the quarter, driven by the key Black Friday and Christmas trading periods. Our Argos digital stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets are performing well, as awareness of the convenience of shopping at both Sainsbury’s and Argos under one roof grows among our customers.
“The market remains very competitive and the impact of the devaluation of sterling remains uncertain. However, we are well placed to navigate the external environment and remain focused on delivering our strategy.”
· Sainsbury’s: Total Retail sales1 up 0.8 per cent (excl. fuel) and like-for-like Retail sales up 0.1 per cent (excl. fuel), with total volumes up and like-for-like volumes flat
· Argos: Total sales up 4.1 per cent and like-for-like sales up 4.0 per cent
· Combined Sainsbury’s and Argos like-for-like sales up 1.0 per cent (excl. fuel)
“Our Groceries Online and Convenience channels performed well, achieving over nine and six per cent sales growth respectively and at Argos we saw record levels of online participation. Online sales made up 18 per cent of total Group sales in the quarter.
Strategic and operational highlights
Our vision is to be the most trusted retailer where people love to work and shop. We are focused on delivering the five pillars of our strategy:
We know our customers better than anyone else
· Sainsbury’s has removed the vast majority of multi-buy promotions and continues to implement its simpler pricing and promotional strategy
· Sainsbury’s achieved like-for-like transaction growth across all channels, total volumes up and like-for-like volumes flat
Great products and services at fair prices
· We remain focused on offering both quality and value:
o This year customers paid 14 per cent less for a typical Christmas basket at Sainsbury’s than they did two years ago2
o 25 per cent of Sainsbury’s brand food was new or improved this year compared to two years ago, including our Taste the Difference party food range, where sales increased by 50 per cent year-on-year
o Our Blanc de Blanc Brut NV champagne and our Taste the Difference 18-month aged Cognac-laced Christmas puddings were both named Which? Best Buys this year
o Our turkeys were the best value on the market by 39 pence per kilo3; volumes were up over 30 per cent year-on- year across the range
· Sainsbury’s Clothing sales grew by ten per cent and General Merchandise grew by three per cent
· Argos delivered strong sales growth in technology categories (wearable tech, mobile phones, computers, TV and audio), toys, sports and gifts
· Sainsbury’s Bank performed well, with credit card new business more than doubling year-on-year, driven by an extended range of market leading products
There for our customers
· Argos had a strong online performance over the key Black Friday period, with 65 per cent of sales taken online and a quarter of a million Fast Track deliveries over that weekend. Over the third quarter, online sales grew by 13 per cent, accounting for 57 per cent of Argos sales
· There are now 30 Argos digital stores and three Habitat stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets and over 200 digital in-store collection points where customers can collect their Tu clothing, eBay purchases and DPD parcels
· Groceries Online achieved sales growth of over nine per cent and orders grew by 13 per cent. With a strong operational performance, the business had a record week in the quarter, delivering over 300,000 online orders
· Sainsbury’s Convenience business grew six per cent and opened 15 new stores, including six trial franchise stores in Euro Garages’ petrol forecourts
Colleagues making the difference
· Our colleagues provided excellent customer service over the Christmas period, when our stores are at their busiest
· Sainsbury’s was named Grocer 33 Store of the Week for the 11th time this year4, the highest of any grocer this year
Our values make us different
· Sainsbury’s brand Christmas advertisement had over 31 million views across social media and raised over £500k for Great Ormond Street Hospital