While many people won’t look back fondly on Christmas 2020, for one business it proved to be a truly memorable experience. Sainsbury’s achieved knockout sales across both food and its general merchandise, with the shift in the market backdrop playing to its strengths.
“The restrictions for many parts of the country on visiting friends and family meant that a lot more people had to fend for themselves rather than sharing a big meal. That dynamic may well have resulted in a greater number of smaller-sized items being sold,” said AJ Bell’s Russ Mould.
“A strong reputation for providing decent premium-range items also worked in favour with good sales of Taste the Difference products, showing that the supermarket game isn’t always about having the cheapest possible price.
“Being stuck at home without big family gatherings didn’t stop households celebrating and so champagne sales popped, and steaks were the flavour of the day for New Year’s Eve as people had to entertain themselves indoors.
“With a lot of high street shops closed in the run-up to Christmas, and many people reluctant to venture to busy places in the preceding months, it’s no wonder that Sainsbury’s-owned Argos had a field day. This was very much a digital Christmas, where companies excelled if they had the ability to offer a wide range of products online and get to them to homes quickly. Argos ticked all the right boxes.
“After years of struggling and trying to work out ways to accelerate growth, Sainsbury’s finally looks like it has moved up a gear. New chief executive Simon Roberts is off to a great start, although there still remains numerous pressures on the business, such as being able to satisfy ferocious demand for online delivery slots, dealing with supply chain disruptions, and never taking the eye off the grocery competition.”