Sainsbury’s grows across the board in second quarter

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Sainsbury’s total sales for the 16 weeks to 2 October 2010 rose by 5.2%, excluding fuel, and 2.9% on a like-for-like basis.

Sainsbury’s opened its largest stores in England, Scotland and Wales in the last 10 days of quarter, including a 100,000sq ft store at Crayford, Kent, which features a wider, non-food offer, alongside a food hall; and incorporates new environmental technologies.

The £1bn Taste the Difference brand was also relaunched in the period. Sainsbury’s said the customer response has been “fantastic” and the new Taste the Difference Bistro range was already a hit with customers with slow-cooked lamb shanks and roasted pork belly proving to be early favourites.

Sainsbury’s said its convenience business is achieving £1bn in annual sales from strong underlying growth and the addition of high quality new stores.

Its online channels are progressing well, it said, with sales up over 25% and underpinned by record levels of service and availability.

Sainsbury’s said providing great value and great quality, fresh, tasty food is at the forefront of its brand and it was proud of its commitment to sourcing British products in season. Sainsbury’s said 100% of its green salads and cucumbers were sourced from British farms in the quarter, for example, and it was the number one retailer of British tomatoes and apricots, selling 80% of the British apricot crop.

The non-food offer continues to perform well, said Sainsbury’s, growing at three times the rate of food.

During the quarter, Sainsbury’s opened seven supermarkets, 12 convenience stores and completed seven extensions – adding a total 460,000sq ft of new space to the store estate.

Justin King, chief executive, said: “We are pleased with our progress in the first half of the financial year. We expect the consumer environment to remain challenging and will continue to work hard to deliver universal appeal through providing great value, great quality products to our customers. Our accelerated growth strategy is providing access to Sainsbury’s winning offer to ever more customers and we are well placed to make continued good progress.”