Sainsbury’s has upgraded its full-year profit forecast after enjoying record sales rises over the Christmas period.
In its third quarter trading update covering 15 weeks ending January 6, the Big 4 retailer posted a 1.1 per cent rise in like-for-like sales.
This was attributed to booming trading over Christmas week, with December 22 being the biggest sales day for stores and online grocery orders reportedly being delivered to customers every second.
Total also revenue had a 1.2 per cent uptick, with online sales accounting for 20 per cent of the company’s sales during the quarter.
Sales in Sainsbury’s grocery division grew 2.3 per cent, boosted by the popularity of its 25p vegetable range – which capitalised on demand for the lowest prices amid rising inflation.
However, the retailer added that sales in its general merchandise division, which includes Argos, fell 1.4 per cent.
Despite this, Argos still enjoyed record sales over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period.
Meanwhile, clothing sales were up just one per cent, in a market that Sainsbury’s said was impacted by warm weather at the start of the autumn/winter season.
The company now expects underlying profit to be “moderately ahead” of previous guidance for the full-year.
They said this mainly because of an extra £20 million in cost savings, or “synergies”, from its integration and expansion of Argos – which it acquired in late 2016 – within Sainsbury’s supermarkets.
However, the retailer conceded it was cautious about the forecast thanks to the challenging market conditions.
“We had a strong Christmas week, with record sales, over 340,000 online grocery orders and stellar growth in Argos Fast Track delivery and collection,” chief executive Mike Coupe said.
He added: “We delivered an excellent operational performance across the group, with great availability, strong customer satisfaction scores and our lowest level of waste ever at Christmas.”