Sainsbury’s posts low Christmas figures, warns on “highly competitive” 2020

Sainsbury's Mike Coupe trading update Christmas
Sainsbury's saw 32 million customers overall shop with the group across the supermarket and Argos businesses
// Sainsbury’s like-for-like retail sales fell 0.7% in the 15 weeks to January 4
// Grocery sales rose 0.4% while online groceries trading increased 7.3%

Sainsbury’s has recorded lower sales over its Christmas quarter as a tough toy market counteracted grocery sales.

In the 15 weeks to January 4, the Big 4 grocer’s overall like-for-like retail sales fell 0.7 per cent, excluding fuel.

Grocery sales rose 0.4 per cent while online groceries trading increased 7.3 per cent.

READ MORE: 3 million Sainsbury’s customers to shop online this Christmas

Clothing sales jumped 4.4 per cent, but its overall performance was dragged lower by a 3.9 per cent dip in general merchandise.

Sainsbury’s said online sales grew over the festive period, with 20 per cent of all business made over the internet in the quarter.

Total online sales across groceries and Argos grew by five per cent.

It saw 32 million customers overall shop with the group across the supermarket and Argos businesses.

Sainsbury’s said that within its general merchandise business, toy and gaming sales were “significantly” lower, but the group held off from big price discounts.

It has warned that trading is expected to be “highly competitive and promotional” in 2020.

“We gave our customers a great combination of quality food at good prices this Christmas and we delivered a standout performance operationally,” Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said.

“The colder weather helped to deliver strong clothing sales in the quarter and our Christmas, party and gifting ranges were all popular with customers.

“Argos outperformed the market in consumer electronics, but the toy and gaming markets declined year on year.”

Sainsbury’s low figures follows rival Morrisons’ update on Tuesday which reported an “unusually challenging” trading after posting a 1.7 per cent sales fall for the 22 weeks to January 5.

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