Announced as part of the supermarket business’ third-quarter trading statement for the 14 weeks to 5 January 2013, the company reported a 0.9% increase in like-for-like (LFL) sales and a 3.3% rise in total sales, both excluding fuel.
Sainsbury’s, which was the only supermarket among the big four to improve its market share during Christmas, added it had seen a LFL growth for 32 consecutive quarters giving a two-year LFL growth of 2.9%.
Justin King, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “The week before Christmas was our strongest trading week ever, with customer transactions exceeding 27 million. We saw a record breaking £16m of sales in one hour between 12pm and 1pm on Sunday 23 December and experienced our best ever Christmas Eve, at both our supermarket and convenience stores, with over £100m of sales.”
He added that it had been a “very strong quarter” for the company’s own-brand products, with sales growing three times more than branded goods, and orders for its Christmas food ordering service up by 25% last year.
Other highlights included Sainsbury’s convenience offering, which saw a growth of more than 17% during the period, and the firm’s online business, which rose by more than 15%.
The business has said it was on track to deliver one million square feet of new space by the end of the financial year, after adding 496,000 square feet during the third quarter, comprising six supermarkets, five extensions and 19 new convenience stores.
King added: “We expect the challenging economic backdrop to persist, with customers looking to re-balance their household budgets after the festivities and so spending cautiously in the first few months of 2013. By continuing to help our customers to Live Well for Less through our ongoing commitment to great food, Brand Match, competitive pricing and targeted promotions via Nectar and coupon-at-till, we are positioned to perform well over the next quarter.”
Sainsbury’s said it will announce its fourth-quarter trading statement on 19 March.