Sainsbury’s commercial director Mike Coupe predicts that shoppers will wait late before making Christmas purchases although he believes people will still splash out.
Coupe said he expects shopping trends would fall a week later than in previous years. Sainsbury’s said evidence from events such as the Royal Wedding, Halloween and Bonfire Night showed that people still invest in family occasions.
Coupe said that early indications showed that people were still splashing out. He pointed towards the fact that dressed lobster was second only to turkeys in popularity in its in-store Christmas meat ordering service.
He said: “People are still trading up with us. There’s a lot to play for.”
The retailer said it had a slower start to Christmas with key seasonal products mince pies down on a like-for-like basis. However fresh and frozen foods director Simon Twigger expects to see growth in this area in the next two weeks.
The grocer said it was experiencing good growth in non-food. Coupe said it had a big opportunity to grow that “immature” part of its business.
Gok Wan’s clothing collection, which the grocer launched in October, has helped drive growth in its ladieswear business. The collection already accounts for around 8% of ladieswear clothing across the supermarket.
Coupe said: “We’re overwhelmed by the success of Gok. He’s underpinned growth in our ladieswear business. It’s brought people in and made them reassess what we sell.”
The statement red wrap dress from the collection sold 2,100 units on its first day of release. The retailer is currently the seventh largest clothing retailer in the UK.
The growth comes as the grocer looks to makes gains across non-food. It said video game Call of Duty 3 was its top selling item over the week it was released earlier this month and it expects new Harry Potter DVD to be its best-selling item upon its release next week. The grocer predicts the supermarket will sell 420,000 copies of the DVD.
The groce’s growth in areas such as video games and DVD comes as specialist retailers such as Game and HMV continue to struggle. Game issued a profits warning earlier this month as total group sales fell 10.6%. HMV like-for-like sales plummeted 15.1% in its first quarter to September 3.