Supermarket Sainsbury‘s today reported a total sales rise of four per cent to £13.4 billion in the 28 weeks to September 29th 2012 as it continued to outperform its rivals in a highly competitive market.
Like-for-like sales including VAT grew 1.7 per cent while pre-tax profit reached £373 million, up 5.4 per cent on the same period last year.
While the grocer benefitted from its high-profile sponsorship of the Paralympic Games this summer, the main driving force behind the sales increase is the result of greater investment in its own-brand range.
Sainsbury‘s penetration of the own-brand market is now growing at a faster rate than any other major supermarket and the company has already re-launched 85 per cent of its By Sainsbury‘s range, with a total of 6,500 new or improved products on course to hit shelves by April next year.
As development of its food offer boosts profit, the supermarket‘s focus on improving its general merchandise and clothing range has resulted in increased market share with the sector growing three times faster than its food business.
David Tyler, Chairman of Sainsbury‘s, said: “Sainsbury?s has made a strong start to the year, delivering continued outperformance in what has remained a challenging market.
“We have grown our underlying basic earnings per share to 15.2 pence, return on capital employed remains unchanged at 10.9 per cent and our interim dividend is 4.8 pence per share, up 6.7 per cent.”
Over the course of the half year, the grocer opened five new supermarkets, 49 convenience stores and completed three extensions, adding a total of 351,000 sq ft of space to its store portfolio while also maintaining a focus on its online channel.
Online grocery orders now exceed an average of 165,000 a week and online sales have jumped 20 per cent over the period and the grocer believes that its well-rounded offer has helped maintain its strong position.
Sainsbury‘s won Supermarket of the Year at the Retail Industry Awards 2012 during the half for the fifth time in seven years, aided by the introduction of its competitive Brand Match promise which has led to nearly 250 million Brand Match coupons being printed since its launch a year ago.
Justin King, Sainsbury‘s CEO, said of the positive results: “Our share of the grocery market is the highest for almost a decade at 16.7 per cent, with 31 consecutive quarters of like-for-like sales growth.
“We continue to succeed by remaining focused on delivering quality products, best-in-class service and value for our customers, without compromise. Brand Match, Nectar and our highly targeted coupon-at-till all reinforce our price competiveness.
“Whilst the wider economic situation remains challenging, we are well positioned to help our customers Live Well For Less.
“Our long-standing consistent strategy, combined with our customer insight and strong value-driven culture, will continue to deliver for customers, colleagues and shareholders.”