Sainsbury’s reports good sales growth based on customer convenience

Sainsbury’s reported like-for-like sales up by 0.1 per cent, excluding fuel. It also explained how it is developing its business across a range of channels, and is focusing heavily on customer convenience.

Sainsbury’s reported good sales growth in its Argos general merchandise business (total sales +3.8 per cent in the nine weeks to March 11, like-for-like (LFL) up by 4.3 per cent), but falling like-for-likes in its supermarket business (total sales +0.1 per cent, LFL -0.5 per cent).

The grocer reported a 7 per cent rise in online grocery sales, while orders grew by 8 per cent. Its convenience business, part of its multichannel strategy of enabling customers to buy wherever and whenever they want, also saw sales grow – and by nearly 7 per cent. The supermarket opened 10 convenience stores during the fourth quarter of its financial year.

It continues to focus on bringing supermarket shoppers the opportunity to do more of their shopping in one place, with 11 new Argos Digital stores opening in supermarkets. There are now 41 of the stores, which focus on online ordering and collection, in its stores nationwide – and eight Mini Habitat stores.

Investment in digital continues in the general merchandiser under its new ownership – Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe points to improvements both to the Argos website and app. “Online participation is growing,” he said, “driven by mobile and Fast Track delivery and customers are responding well to new ranges.”
Technology sales were particularly strong. But while Argos sales showed healthy growth, Sainsbury’s said its own general merchandise sales fell by 4 per cent; it puts this down to a later Mother’s Day and Easter.

Sainsbury’s is also now focusing on lower every day prices rather than one-off discounting. It says its move to reduce the number of promotions it takes part in has cut operating costs, and food waste.