Sainsbury's have recorded first quarter sales growth of 3.6% including fuel, or 3.3% excluding fuel. Like-for-like sales during the period were up by 0.7%, or 0.8% excluding fuel. The British retailer also claimed a greater market share during the period, rising 0.2% to hold 16.8%.
Convenience remains a 'strong driver for growth' for Sainsbury's, with 19 convenience stores opened during the quarter and the retailer 'on track to deliver around two new stores per week for the year'.
Sainsbury's also opened one new supermarket and refurbished a further six, adding a total of 82,000 square feet to the retailer's portfolio.
Justin King, chief executive at Sainsbury's described the first-quarter results as a "solid performance in what continues to be a tough consumer environment". Non-food continues to grow at over twice the rate of food for Sainsbury's, with particularly strong sales in homewares. According to King, the Kitchen Electricals category is growing at 34% year-on-year, with cookware growing at nearly 23% year-on-year.
Pointing to Sainsbury's own-brand initiatives, King commented that "with the relaunch complete, by Sainsbury's sales are up nearly 7%, driving own-brand penetration. Notable successes include the re-launch of Sainsbury's Little Ones napes to coincide with the withdrawal of the Huggies brand from the UK, offering customers an equivalent quality product for a significant saving." Sainsbury's Taste the Difference line is showing growth of over 10%, and has now reached £1 billion of sales.
According to King, Sainsbury's expects the 'challenging' economic environment to continue throughout this financial year. However, with Sainsbury's "ongoing commitment to great quality own-brands, 'Brand Match', competitive pricing and targeted promotions via Nectar and coupon-at-till, we are positioned to continue to outperform the market." (12 June)