J SAINSBURY reported its best ever Christmas sales as customers splashed out on more expensive ranges over the festive period.
The supermarket group, which this month overtook Asda as the second largest supermarket in the four week run-up to Christmas, said in a trading statement yesterday that like-for like sales for the 14 weeks to 8 January were up 3.6 per cent.
Sales were up 5.4 per cent including fuel purchases, with 900,000 new customers shopping at the supermarket every week over the period.
Sainsbury’s said it had thrived despite dire weather with 12,000 tonnes of salt used to make its stores accessible even in the worst conditions in the lead up to Christmas.
Chief executive Justin King said: “You just have to get on with it and provide the best for customers. There is no doubt the snow had an impact, but if you lie back and become a victim to the snow, then you’re not doing what we’re here to do. Some [retailers] did better than others.”
He said the £1bn relaunch of the chain’s Taste the Difference range had helped to boost sales, with free range turkey sales up 30 per cent and smoked salmon up 10 per cent.
Meanwhile, the 700,000 sq ft of new shop space opened over the period also contributed to the sales lift.
King added: “This was our 24th quarter of like-for-like sales growth. We are well placed to make continued good progress in 2011.”
The retailer said sales of its non-food goods were rising three times faster than food sales.
Clothing ranges showed good growth, with lingerie and clothing accessories in particular performing well, with sales up more than 45 per cent on last year.
Home and electrical goods are also rising, Sainsbury’s said.
SAINSBURY’S SALES | WHAT HAS FLOWN OFF THE SHELVES
Taste the Difference prosecco
sales up 1,708%
Shrek 4 DVDs
177,000 copies sold
Sainsbury’s Winter Cookbook
nearly 100,000 copies sold
Norfolk Black Woodland free range turkeys
sales up 30%
Taste the Difference Oak smoked salmon
sales up 10%