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Tuesday 19th of January 2010
January 7, 2010    

Sainsbury’s sees record Christmas performance

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by Kay Murchie

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s said it had experienced a record Christmas after posting a 3.8% increase over the festive period.

The retailer said despite a freezing December, it served one million more customers each week over the three month period to January 2, reached a record 24 million customers in the week to 24 December.

Like-for-like sales, which exclude new store openings, rose 4.2%.

Chief executive Justin King said: “We’ve had a strong Christmas, for us a record Christmas”.

“In the run-up to Christmas we had significant snow and our colleagues throughout our business pulled out all the stops and kept our business open and eventually all our deliveries got through,” said Mr King.

“And that’s why we’ve had great sales figures to announce today.”

In the meantime, Sainsbury’s said customers were seeking a “more traditional Christmas”, he said, with sales of turkey and trimmings up 14% compared with a year ago.

The company described trading conditions as challenging but said it was confident of good progress this year.

In related news, British retailing giant, Marks and Spencer (M&S), this week reported its first sales growth in over two years.

The 125-year-old retailer which sells clothes, food and homewares, said like-for-like sales grew 0.8% in the three months to 26 December compared with the same period a year earlier.

Other trading updates came from fashion chain Next who reported better than expected sales figures for the Christmas period.

Furthermore, the John Lewis Partnership, which is seen as a barometer of British retailing, said like-for-like sales were up 12.7% in the five weeks to 2 January 2010 compared with a year ago.

All sets of figures will boost hopes that the economy is making a recovery as consumers begin to spend again.

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