Today’s update from Sainsbury’s suggests the grocery giant has been buoyed over the last nine weeks by a 4.3% spike in like-for-likes at Argos and a 5% sales jump within fashion brand Tu.

Although the situation will become clearer when profit figures are unveiled at Sainsbury’s prelims in May, today’s sales support the grocer’s decision to diversify last year.

But when it comes to Sainsbury’s core grocery business, where like-for-likes were down 0.5% year-on-year, it didn’t have a particularly strong Christmas, and today it claimed the later falling of Easter and Mother’s Day caused a slowdown in both food and general merchandise sales.

Like it’s rivals, Sainsbury’s has faced into currency headwinds and “uncertain” inflation impact in recent months, but heat from other grocers in the already competitive environment may also be impacting its sales.

As Tesco and Morrisons continue to pull up their proverbial socks, will they increasingly munch away at what was formerly Sainsbury’s bread and butter?

Also today, as the footwear news continues to roll in, Kurt Geiger and turnaround specialist Endless have stepped in as potential buyers of the embattled Jones Bootmaker.


Quote of the day

“What’s been remarkable, and I’m very pleased with, is that we’ve ridden the storm very well as an organisation. There are cost price pressures in the supply chain, but we’ve done a very good job of mitigating those.”

– Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe speaking after the grocer’s fourth quarter update


Today in numbers


– The number of pieces in John Lewis’ newly launched own-brand denim collection


– The number of Habitat store-in-stores currently open in Sainsbury’s

Tomorrow’s agenda

Look out for the latest episode of The Retail Week when we discuss Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s John Allen and Jones Bootmaker.

Emily Hardy, senior reporter