Sainsbury’s said it has recorded a “strong sales performance” despite earlier predictions that it would suffer its first decline for eight years.
Total sales for the third quarter were up 2.5% and like-for-like sales in the same period rose by 0.2% excluding fuel.
The consensus in the City was that Sainsbury’s sales fell by 0.4pc over Christmas – which would have disrupted the company’s run of 35 consecutive quarters of sales growth, reported the Telegraph on Monday.
But Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King said the seven days before Christmas was the supermarket’s busiest ever trading week, with more than 28 million transactions.
“Monday 23rd December was the busiest day and saw our biggest trading hour, with customers spending nearly £17 million. Also on the 23rd, Stanway in Essex was our first ever store to take £1 million in sales in one day,” he said.
“This quarter has been characterised by a very tough sales environment throughout October and November, with customers saving up in order to treat their families over the Christmas period. However, we saw strong sales in the key period over Christmas,” King continued.
King went on to say that its general merchandise and clothing business achieved record levels of market share. “We sold more than 300,000 onesies,” he said. “We are now the UK’s eleventh largest retailer of clothing by value.”