Sainsbury’s has lived up to its Christmas winner title (by Kantar Worldpanel’s research), after it recorded a prediction-beating performance in its Christmas quarter and its best day for convenience sales on Christmas Eve.
The grocer, which recently revealed that a bid it made for Argos in November was rejected by owner Home Retail, said stores open over a year fell 0.4% in the 15 weeks to 9 January and although Sainsbury’s has posted eight consecutive quarters of falling underlying sales, it has been less hurt from the competition imposed by discounters Aldi and Lidl, in contrast to Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.
Sainsbury’s, Britain’s fourth largest supermarket chain, said it had benefited from an increase in the number of transactions customers were making, and the volume of their transactions.
"We have traded well during the festive period in a highly competitive market," said CEO Mike Coupe.
Sainsbury's now expects its like-for-like sales in the second half of its 2015-16 year to be better than the first and said it had benefited from shoppers trading up to more premium products, such as its "Taste the Difference" range, over the festive period.
Decisions to narrow the price gap with the value retailers, improve the availability of products and enhance customer service seemed to woo customers, as did the Sainsbury’s Christmas ad, which Sainsbury’s was delighted with having donated over £1.5m to Save The Children.
The grocer said there was no certainty on its bid approach to Argos. Under British takeover rules it has until 5pm 2 February to make a firm offer or it will have to abandon any intention to acquire the retailer.