Sainsbury's reports Christmas sales boost

Sainsbury's reported a 1.1 per cent rise in like-for-like sales over the 15 weeks to January 6, helped by record sales over Christmas.
By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

SAINSBURY'S has upgraded its full-year profit forecast after enjoying a record Christmas and signalling bigger cost savings from its acquisition of Argos.

The supermarket giant revealed a 1.1 per cent rise in like-for-like sales over the 15 weeks to January 6, helped by booming trading over Christmas week.

Total revenue rose 1.2 per cent in the period, with grocery sales growing 2.3 per cent.

The grocery chain said that its 25p vegetable lines proved particularly popular, underlining how consumers are seeking the lowest prices amid soaring Brexit-fuelled inflation.

But Sainsbury's added that sales in its general merchandise arm, which includes Argos, fell 1.4 per cent.

The group said that while it is cautious about challenging market conditions and the consumer environment, it expects underlying profit to be "moderately ahead" of previous guidance.

This is down to an extra £20 million in cost savings, or "synergies", from its integration of Argos, which it acquired in 2016.

Boss Mike Coupe said: "We had a strong Christmas week, with record sales, over 340,000 online grocery orders and stellar growth in Argos Fast Track delivery and collection.

"Online accounted for 20% of the group's sales during the quarter.

"We delivered an excellent operational performance across the group, with great availability, strong customer satisfaction scores and our lowest level of waste ever at Christmas.

"Friday 22 was our biggest sales day for stores and we also delivered an online grocery order to customers every second."

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