Sainsbury’s sees strong sales

Sainsbury’s has reported good sales figures for the 52 weeks to 17 March. The supermarket’s underlying profits were up 7.1% (before tax) to £712m, with total sales up 6.8% to £24,511m.

Highlights included the market share rising to the highest level seen by Sainsbury’s in a decade, at 16.6%, outperforming the market, while there was also growth in its own-label ranges. Sales in Taste the Difference rose 8.2% and basics were also up 6.8%, which it said was driven by the growth of consumers cooking at home. It is currently revamping its core ‘by Sainsbury’s’ range of over 3,700 products.

The supermarket also reported that it had delivered more than £100m of operational cost savings, and signed a new contract with customer insight provider and loyalty card Nectar. Nineteen new supermarkets, 73 new convenience stores and 28 store extensions have been opened, amounting to around 1.4m sq ft of space.

The retailer said convenience continued to be a key driver of consumer behaviour, with £1.3bn-worth of sales, but having achieved targets in new space, the focus seems to be shifting to extensions of existing stores in the south east, while new stores would be in areas traditionally “under-represented” by Sainsbury’s, in the north, west, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It also reported growth in online groceries, with orders up to 165,000 per week and click-and-collect accounting for half of all online orders. This rose even more steeply in the week before Christmas, to 75%.

Chairman David Tyler said: “Sainsbury’s has continued to deliver good sales and profit performance, and to increase its share of the market. At the same time, we have grown underlying earnings per share by 6% to 28.1p.”  
Chief executive Justin King said: “We are succeeding by understanding what our customers want, supporting and inspiring them to Live Well For Less. Delivering quality and value is a compelling offer, in tune with what today’s savvy shoppers want. Brand Match, combined with our use of coupon-at-till, has improved Sainsbury’s price perception while retaining the benefits of our heritage in quality and service. We have continued to invest in the future of the business, including opening a further 1.4m sq ft of gross space, while managing costs and increasing net underlying margins.  
“While the wider economic situation remains uncertain, we remain confident that our clear strategy, market insight and strong values will enable us to make further progress both in our core food and non-food businesses, as well as new channels and services in the year ahead.”