// Sainsbury’s overall first quarter sales jumps 8.5%
// Sales from its grocery arm surged 10.5%, boosted by an 87% surge in online sales after orders rose to 650,000 per week from 370,000 last year
// Sainsbury’s also reported a 7.2% increase in sales from its general merchandise arm
Sainsbury’s has posted bumper trading for the first quarter of its financial year as online sales more than doubled thanks to the coronavirus lockdown.
The supermarket giant said total sales jumped by 8.5 per cent year-on-year for the three month period ending June 27, amid strong demand for store-cupboard essentials.
However, it warned that profits could take a hit of more than £500 million due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, although this would be “broadly offset by business rates relief and stronger grocery sales”.
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Simon Roberts, the new chief executive of Sainsbury’s, also warned investors that the Big 4 retailer “do not expect the current strong sales growth to continue”.
He added that the coming months would continue to be challenging.
Sainsbury’s said first quarter grocery sales surged 10.5 per cent, boosted by an 87 per cent surge in online revenue after orders rose to 650,000 per week compared to 370,000 during the same period last year.
The retailer also reported a 7.2 per cent increase in sales from its general merchandise arm, boosted by strong figures in its Argos business despite stores being shut for most of the quarter.
Argos sales on its own increased by 10.7 per cent thanks to a 78 per cent surge in home delivery sales, while click-and-collect sales increased by 53 per cent.
However, shoppers bought fewer clothes from Sainsbury’s Tu business during the period with sales sliding by 26.7 per cent.
Sainsbury’s did not provide an update on its Habitat furniture fascia.
Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s said that during the quarter it employed 25,000 staff to help mitigate surging demand during lockdown, and also paid bonuses to 157,000 staff members as a thank you for working on the frontline during the pandemic.
The retailer added made almost four million grocery deliveries to more than 500,000 elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers.
“The last four months have been extraordinary in so many ways and our colleagues have done an amazing job adapting our business,” Roberts said.
“They have worked tirelessly to keep everyone safe, to help feed the nation and to support our communities and the most vulnerable in society.
“A number of the decisions we have made have materially increased costs but meant that we have done the right thing for our customers and set us up well for the future.”
Roberts took over as the FTSE 100 grocer’s new chief executive at the start of June, replacing Mike Coupe.