In the three months to 12 March, sales at Britain’s second largest supermarket chain grew for the first time in two years.
In a competitive game of grocery trading Sainsbury’s has stepped it up, posting a 0.1% sales rises in stores open over a year, compared with a 0.4% fall in like-for-like sales over the Christmas trading period.
Sainsbury’s has been reducing multi-buy promotions, with a commitment to phase them out completely by August, and instead has been lowering everyday item prices. The big four grocer has also been taking advantage of the nation’s shift towards healthy eating, seeing increased popularity with products including butternut squash noodles or “boodles” and “courgetti”.
“We have traded well this year and are making excellent progress implementing our strategy,” said CEO Mike Coupe. “The market will remain competitive but we are confident that we will continue to outperform our major peers.”
Coupe said the results were underpinned by a “very rounded performance” from the business, the driving force of which was rising online sales and a strong performance from the retailer’s clothing and entertainment divisions.
Clothing sales have seemingly recovered after being hit by unseasonably warm weather in previous quarters, increasing over 10%, while strong releases such as Adele’s new album and James Bond movie Spectre helped entertainment figures grow nearly 11%.
The figures come just days ahead of the 18 March deadline for bettering its bid to Home Retail for Argos, rivalling South African conglomerate Steinhoff.