Sainsbury’s recorded a “solid” 0.8% rise in like-for-like sales in the first quarter to June 8 amid a challenging market.
The grocer posted rise in total sales of 3.6% in the 12-week period, against tough comparatives from last year’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The like-for-like rise is its worst performance since 2005.
Sainsbury’s said its convenience arm was a “strong driver for growth” with sales up nearly 20% and 19 small stores opened in the quarter.
However, the rate of its online growth slowed from nearly 20% in the fourth quarter of last year to 16% in the first quarter.
Sainsbury’s said store extensions were responsible for 0.2% of the 0.8% rise, which represents its 34th consecutive quarter of like-for-like growth but a slowdown from the 1.8% rise recorded in the fourth quarter.
The retailer reported own-brand products were driving sales with its relaunched By Sainsbury’s range recording 7% growth and Taste the Difference up 10% to reach £1bn of sales.
Its non-food ranges are growing at more than twice the rate of food. Sainsbury’s said it had seen particularly strong sales in homeware, with kitchen electricals growing at over 34% year on year and cookware up nearly 23% year on year.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King said: “Our strategy of focusing on general merchandise categories which are complementary to our great food offer is helping us gain market share.”
His comments come just a week after Tesco reported it is reducing its exposure to some non-food categories including DIY, toys and electricals after reporting a 1% fall in first-quarter like-for-likes. Morrisons’ first quarter like-for-likes fell 1.8% while Asda’s rose 1.3%.
King added: “This has been a solid performance in what continues to be a tough consumer environment. During the quarter we lapped some of our strongest performance of last year, culminating in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and have extended our track record to 34 quarters of like-for-like growth. We are the only major grocer growing market share, up 0.2% to 16.8%.
“We expect the challenging economic environment to continue through this financial year. By helping our customers to Live Well For Less through our ongoing commitment to great quality own-brand products, Brand Match, competitive pricing and targeted promotions via Nectar and coupon-at-till, we are well positioned to continue to outperform the market.”