Bottom Line: Christmas comes early for King

Elizabeth Fournier

THEY say good things come to those who wait. Yesterday, almost a week after rival retailers Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Morrisons released their Christmas adverts, the UK’s fastest growing supermarket revealed its own tear-jerker – a three-and-a-half minute mini-film that aired during last night’s Coronation Street.

The film, which shows clips of ordinary families enjoying Christmas around Britain, was directed by Oscar winner Kevin Macdonald and is the UK’s longest ever commercial.

But Sainsbury’s needn’t have tried so hard. Yesterday’s results – a seven per cent rise in pre-tax profits and sales growth that outstripped Asda, Tesco and Morrison’s – show customers are flocking to its stores, helping it win market share and, according to some analysts, reclaim its position as the nation’s second-favourite supermarket.

The one-off £92m writedown on property is a nasty hit, but one that makes sense as the so-called space race – at least for big retail sites – draws to an end, particularly when Sainsbury’s online sales are growing by 15 per cent year-on-year.

Sainsbury’s may have bided its time in the battle of the seasonal ads, but chief executive Justin King has just delivered shareholders a very welcome early Christmas present.