Retail snapshot: record Christmas sales plump up Sainsbury’s turkey share
Published:  11 January, 2018

Record Christmas sales helped Sainsbury’s increase its market share of turkey over the festive period, according to third-quarter results covering 15 weeks to 6 January 2018. 

The supermarket said its turkey prices were amongst the “lowest” in the land. This helped to grow its share of turkey sales over Christmas, when more shoppers bought their main meat meal from Sainsbury’s, according to the retailer.

Lidl also enjoyed strong growth for turkey sales. The hard discounter claimed to be the UK’s fastest growing supermarket during the four weeks to 31 December 2017. And its UK Birchwood Farm whole fresh turkey, priced £3.89 per kg, was the most competitively priced turkey on supermarket shelves, which helped the retailer grow meat and poultry sales by 17% over the month.

Strong turkey sales for Sainsbury’s and Lidl come as British supermarkets report financial results covering the Christmas period.

“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,” said Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury’s.

Like-for-like sales at Tesco grew by 6% for the 19 weeks to 6 January 2018. While retail inflation remains a market-wide issue, Tesco’s fresh categories significantly outperformed the market, with meat and poultry volume sales particularly strong.

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said: “We have continued to outperform the market throughout this period, particularly in fresh food, thanks to our most competitive offer for many years. Our trading momentum accelerated across the third quarter and into December, with the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day delivering record sales and volumes in the UK.

Non-tobacco sales at Booker Food Group, subject of a £3.7bn Tesco takeover, rose by 5.9% in the third quarter. Chief executive Charles Wilson said the business had improved “choice, prices and service” for shoppers.
Morrisons reported its third-quarter results in November, but issued a Christmas trading update, reporting that like-for-like sales rose by 2.3% in the 10 weeks to 7 January 2018.

Like-for-like sales at Marks & Spencer (M&S) were underwhelming, dropping by 0.4%.

Steve Rowe, chief executive of M&S, added: “In our food business, ongoing trading pressures continued in the lead-up to Christmas as consumer spending and choices reflected tighter budgets. Price investment before Christmas and a strong performance from seasonal lines helped late trading.”

Rowe added changes were underway at the retailer to “get the business back on track” this year.