Sainsbury’s total retail sales for the third quarter, which included the key Christmas period, were down 0.4 per cent (excluding fuel), while like-for-like retail sales for the period fell 1.7 per cent (excluding fuel).
A record trading period in the week before Christmas was not enough to counteract deflationary pressure said the supermarket. Mike Coupe, Chief Executive, said, “Sainsbury’s has provided a great Christmas for our customers. Food price deflation and falling fuel prices have enabled our customers to treat themselves over the festive period. Customers traded up over Christmas as sales of our Taste the Difference range grew by five per cent year-on-year.”
However, he warned that the trading outlook for the retail chain remained difficult. “The outlook for the remainder of the financial year is set to remain challenging, with food price deflation likely to continue,” continued Mr Coupe. “Our performance in the third quarter showed an improving trend quarter-on-quarter. However, given the uncertainty in the trading environment, food price deflation and the price reductions we announced this week, we currently expect our fourth quarter like-for-like to be similar to that of our first half.”