London-based supermarket giant J Sainsbury has revealed an underlying sales rise in the second quarter.
Britain’s third biggest grocer was able to overcome tough trading conditions through a growth in convenience stores, store extensions, non-food ranges and online sales.
Sales have gone up by 1.9 per cent in the 16 weeks to October 1, including VAT sales tax but excluding fuel, while underlying sales are likely to have increased by approximately 1.1 per cent after adjustments for changes in VAT.
The supermarket’s chief executive Justin King said: “We have delivered a good sales performance in a tough consumer environment. Total sales for the quarter were up 7.8 per cent, with like-for-like sales up 5.4 per cent. Excluding fuel, total sales for the quarter were up 4.4 per cent, with like-for-like sales up 1.9 per cent and two-year like-for-like growth of 4.7 per cent.”
Sainsbury’s is still behind Tesco and Wal-Mart’s Asda in annual sales, but it has grown sales faster than the two market leaders in recent quarters as it opened new stores.
The group’s underlying sales rise of about 1.1 per cent is better than the 0.7 per cent fall reported by Tesco for its second quarter, ending August 27. However, rival grocer Wm Morrison posted a 2.2 per cent increase in underlying sales for the six months to the end of July.
King believes the supermarket’s focus on offering consumers value for money on petrol and branded goods will help its figures through the turbulent economic climate.
He said: “Fuel prices continue to impact customers’ disposable income and put pressure on household budgets. Our market-leading petrol offers, combined with strong promotions and competitive pricing on branded goods, ensure our customers can enjoy great value without compromising on the high quality Sainsbury’s fresh food and own label products they love.
“We expect the market environment to remain very competitive for the foreseeable future but we are confident in our ability to grow by doing a great job for our customers. Through our unique combination of high quality own label ranges and commitment to delivering value we will continue to help our customers ‘Live Well For Less’.”
Sales of Sainsbury’s back to school range increased by 40 per cent on last year, said King, with more than 100,000 pairs of trousers and 70,000 packs of polo shirts flying off the shelves in its busiest week.
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