Sainsburys posts best ever Christmas performance

Sainsbury’s has posted its “best ever Christmas performance” after reporting a 4.5% rise in sales for the last three months of 2008. Despite tough trading conditions, the supermarket says that it is “well-positioned” to survive the downturn due to discounts and promotions.

The retailer adds that December 23 was its “busiest ever trading day” and that its online sales rose by 27% over the same period. Total sales, including petrol, were up 5.3%, compared with the same period a year before.

The sale of its Basics food range rose 40% along with a rise in its half-price toys and clothing. In September last year, Sainsbury’s launched an ad campaign encouraging people to buy the supermarket’s 15,000 own-brand products. The move followed its own research that shows that sales of own-label is growing twice as fast as branded products.

The supermarket chain has reported a slight decline in its premium Taste The Difference range, which accounts for about 7% of total sales.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King warned that the economic environment remains particularly challenging and that the company expected the slowdown to continue in 2009.

Sainsbury’s has 509 large supermarket chains, over 270 convenience stores and employs 150,000 people.

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