British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has signaled an end to slumping quarterly sales in a trading update for the Christmas period as online purchases posted double digit growth and sales of apparel surged.
The company, which operates 604 supermarkets and 796 convenience stores across the UK, reported that like-for-like retail sales rose by 0.1% in the 15-week period to January 7 while total retail sales advanced by 0.8% over the same period, in an update published on Wednesday. In the previous two quarters, like-for-like retail sales had fallen by 1.1% and 0.8%, respectively.
Total sales at the company’s Argos stores – a subsidiary of the Home Retail Group which Sainsbury’s acquired in September – advanced by 4.1% over the period while like-for-like sales rose by 4.0%. Combined Sainsbury’s and Argos’ like-for-like sales rose by 1.0%.
Mike Coupe, group chief executive of Sainsbury’s, pointed to rising demand for goods being bought online in addition to clothing sales as contributing factors: “We had a record Christmas week, with over 30 million customer transactions at Sainsbury’s and over 1 billion pounds of sales across the group,” Coupe said.