Sainsbury’s second-quarter sales fall in ‘competitive market’

Like-for-like sales fell 1.1% in the 16 weeks to September 24 while total sales were down 0.4%, as the grocer continued with its strategy of removing multi-buy promotions in favour of everyday low prices.

Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe has insisted that the grocer will “continue to outperform” the big four, despite falling total sales and like-for-likes.

Sainsbury’s completed its acquisition of Home Retail Group during the period. The group’s second quarter to August 27 saw sales rise 3% and like-for-likes grow 2.3%.

At Sainsbury’s, online sales grew 8% while order numbers grew 12, with the grocer’s East London warehouse now able to fulfil online deliveries for the capital. Same day click-and-collect is now being trialled from eight stores.

Convenience grew by 7%, and achieved its best-ever week during the quarter, with both sales and customer numbers at their highest-ever points.

Its acquisition of Home Retail Group represents the beginning of Sainsbury’s, Argos and Habitat operating under one roof, with 30 Argos digital stores in the grocer by Christmas.

Sainsbury’s will have 200 digital collection points across its estate by the end of the year.

General merchandise saw sales growth of 4%, while clothing gained market share but saw sales decline against tough comparables in a weak market.

Sainsbury’s completed another important transaction during the period, selling its pharmacy business to Lloyds Pharmacy.

Group chief executive Mike Coupe said: “We expect the market to remain competitive and the effect of the devaluation of sterling remains unclear. However, Sainsbury’s is well positioned to navigate the changing marketplace and we are confident that our strategy will enable us to continue to outperform our major peers.”

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