Sainsbury’s overtakes Asda as second-biggest supermarket

Sainsbury’s has overtaken Asda to become the second-biggest supermarket in the UK after posting better than expected sales growth in its third quarter.

The supermarket announced a 3.6% rise in life-for-like sales, excluding fuel, in the 14 weeks to January 8.

Its market share rose to 16.6% in the four weeks to December 26, while Asda’s share dipped 0.1% to 16.5%, in a Kantar Worldpanel survey that was revealed in The Times this morning.

The week running up to Christmas saw transactions hit an all-time high of 24.5 million.

The strong performance comes at the end of a quarter when the supermarket added a record-breaking 700,000 sq ft of store space and created 6,000 jobs.

Sainsbury’s chief executive, Justin King, hailed the supermarket’s “best ever Christmas”. He said: “This record Christmas was delivered despite challenging weather conditions and our colleagues worked extremely hard to deliver great service to our customers, serving over 24.5 million customers in the seven days up to and including Christmas Eve.”

The supermarket’s high-end Taste The Difference range, which was relaunched to the tune of £1bn late last year, proved popular over Christmas, including a 30% increase in sales of the Norfolk Black Woodland free-range turkeys.

Tesco reveals its results covering the Christmas period tomorrow.

>> Sainsbury’s updates Taste the Difference beef range

>> City Talk: Sainsbury’s relaunch


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