Sainsbury's sees strong finish to a good year

Sainsbury’s has reported a strong Q4 finish, with total sales up 5.1% (excluding fuel) despite what it described as a challenging background.

In the 10 weeks to 17 March 2012, like-for-like sales at the retailer were up 2.6% (excluding fuel), taking total like-for-like sales for the year up 4.5%, (or 2.1% excluding fuel). The retailer also achieved target 7.3% gross space growth in the year, with convenience, online and non-food all growing ahead of market.
Chief executive Justin King said the performance was underpinned by a quality food offer, with customers increasingly aware of the value of Sainsbury’s offers through the ‘Brand Match’ strategy, as well as the ‘Live Well for Less’ campaign. He said that customer budgets had been even more under pressure in the final quarter, and that consumers had been increasingly savvy, saving money where possible and then treating themselves with premium own-brand Taste the Difference.

He said: “Our strategy of delivering universal customer appeal is succeeding in the current economic climate. Our unique own-label ranges enable customers to save money when they need to and to treat themselves, their friends and families on special occasions.

“Our own-label participation continues to lead the market, reflecting Sainsbury’s reputation for great quality at fair prices. Sales of Basics grew by 10% and Taste the Difference grew by almost 20%.

“We continue to outperform the market and gain market share.”

He also said that the Nectar loyalty programme was a key source of customer insight, helping drive marketing strategy, particularly in the area of online retailing, which has grown substantially over the year. And he added that the company had signed a new long-term contract to ensure it retained this competitive advantage. Sainsbury’s revealed that it was the fastest-growing online grocer, serving on average 165,000 customers a week. Over half of customers choose to pick up their online general merchandise orders in store and ‘Click & Collect’ is now available in nearly 900 stores. Overall, online sales have continued to grow at over 20% with both basket size and order numbers increasing.

In the final quarter Sainsbury’s added 170,000sq ft of new space, bringing total gross new space in the year to 1.4m sq ft. Nineteen new stores were opened, plus 73 new convenience stores.  

King said: “We remain focused on ensuring our values make us different and are making good progress against the commitments we set out in our 20 by 20 sustainability plan.

“We have demonstrated that delivering quality and value is a compelling offer for customers.

“The economic climate is likely to remain challenging, and we are committed to helping customers make their money go as far as possible. Nonetheless, the Diamond Jubilee, Olympics and Paralympics are wonderful opportunities this year for the country to join together and celebrate, and we expect these to underpin our continued growth, as customers trust Sainsbury’s to make their celebrations really special.”

>NFU praises Sainbury's sustainability plan

>Deadline looming for SuperMeat entries

>Good meat sales boost organic sector


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