UK supermarket group Sainsbury’s set a new record of 24.5 million transactions during Christmas week, according to a third quarter trading statement released today.
During the 14 weeks to January 8th total sales increased 7.5 per cent year-on-year at the retailer and like-for-like (LFL) sales rose 5.4 per cent.
Once fuel sales are excluded from these results, this equates to a 3.6 per cent LFL rise and a total sales growth of six per cent.
Justin King, CEO of Sainsbury’s, commented: “Our strategy of providing universal customer appeal through great food at fair prices has helped Sainsbury’s to deliver its best-ever Christmas resulting in like-for-like sales growth for the quarter.
“We are delighted that we delivered a record Christmas performance and have grown market share over the quarter, up 0.3 per cent to 16.6 per cent.”
Figures released by Kantar Worldpanel yesterday show Sainsbury’s with the largest growth in market share of any of the top four grocers during December, thanks in large part to the 700,000 sq ft of new retail space opened by the retailer during Q3.
At the beginning of December ‘Super Wednesday’ saw Sainsbury’s unveil 226,297 sq ft of new retail space all in one morning, in September it opened its biggest supermarkets in England, Scotland and Wales and just this week King revealed plans to create a further 20,000 retail jobs over the next three years.
On a two-year comparison like-for-like sales growth excluding fuel total 7.4 per cent in Q3, and with non-food expansion yielding a 45 per cent rise year-on-year of sales of lingerie and clothing, the supermarket seems well set for the challenges ahead.
King added: “The business continues to perform well in a challenging consumer environment, as customers are faced with fuel and VAT increases, combined with uncertain employment prospects.
“Our universal customer appeal together with our accelerated growth plans means we are well placed to make continued good progress in 2011.”