Christmas period results please Sainsburys chief exec

Sainsbury’s has reported “pleasing” results for the Christmas period despite a tough quarter for retailers. The supermarket chain has reported a 3.7% increase in like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, for the 12 weeks to December 29.

It has also reported a 4.7% increase it total sales for the period due to more than 21 million customers shopping at Sainsbury’s in the seven days before Christmas. It is the chain’s 12th consecutive quarter of like-for-like growth.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King says it has delivered strong three-year growth ahead of expectations. He adds: “As a result of this continued strong sales momentum, we are also delighted to report that we have successfully achieved our goal of £2.5bn of additional sales since March 2005. This significant milestone in our recovery was surpassed early in quarter four, three months ahead of plan.”

Sainsbury’s Online contributed to the positive results with its “best ever” performance. Online sales grew by 40% over the quarter with 90,000 orders delivered in the week before Christmas, up 50% on the previous year.

King says seasonal events, such as Halloween and Bonfire Night, added to year-on-year improvements and he adds that non-food product lines are growing in line with range development and expanding distribution.

But he warns that the future is looking more difficult. “Consumer budgets are clearly under pressure and we expect the market to continue to be very competitive.”

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