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Saturday 15th of January 2011
January 12, 2011    

Sainsbury’s shrugs off bad weather with record sales

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by Kay Murchie

Sainsbury’s has today reported its best ever Christmas, despite the heavy snowfall during December which has affected sales at many major retailers.

The group, which is the UK’s third largest supermarket chain, said more than 24 million customers passed through its checkouts during the Christmas week - an all-time high.

It said like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, grew by 3.6% in the 14 weeks to January 8, compared with a year earlier, adding that sales of non-food were particularly strong.

In addition, its market share grew to 16.6% in the four weeks to December 26.

Sainsbury’s has 537 supermarkets, 335 convenience stores and has a workforce of 150,000.

Commenting on the figures, the group’s chief executive Justin King, said: “Our strategy of providing universal customer appeal through great food at fair prices has helped Sainsbury’s to deliver its best-ever Christmas.”

The figures come shortly after the supermarket giant said it would create 20,000 new jobs over the next three years.

The job creation is part of a Government-backed initiative for the private sector to drive employment.

In related news, rival Morrison’s recently reported a rise in Christmas and New Year sales, despite the bad weather.

The grocer, which is Britain’s fourth largest, said like-for-like sales grew 1% in the six-week period over Christmas and New Year compared with the same period a year ago.

However, other retailers have not fared so well. Next, which is Britain’s second largest fashion retailer, said sales for the five months to Christmas Eve – at shops open at least a year – were down 6.1%.

Mother and baby products retailer Mothercare, greeting card chain Clinton Cards, and McBride, Europe’s largest maker of retailer own-brand cleaning products, all said sales suffered last month.

Tesco, which is the UK’s largest supermarket chain, is scheduled to report its trading figures tomorrow.

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