• Sainsbury’s third quarter like-for-likes edge up 0.1%
  • Non-food offer impresses as clothing sales grow 10% and general merchandise rises 3%
  • Argos like-for-likes rise 4% during the 15-week period

Sainsbury’s has posted flat like-for-like sales during the golden quarter as its non-food offer delivered a “strong” performance.

The supermarket giant’s like-for-likes excluding fuel edged up 0.1% in the 15 weeks to January 7, as total sales climbed 0.8%.

Sainsbury’s said same-store sales were also flat on a volume basis.

The grocer hailed the performance of its non-food ranges, as total clothing sales surged 10% and general merchandise advanced 3%.

Its online and convenience divisions also posted revenue growth of 9% and 6% respectively.

Sainsbury’s said it enjoyed a record Christmas week, with more than 30m customer transactions and more than £1bn of sales across the group.

The retailer also highlighted its investment in price, as shoppers paid 14% less for their Christmas basket compared to two years ago.

Argos, which Sainsbury’s acquired in a £1.4bn deal last September, registered a 4% increase in like-for-like sales and a 4.1% jump in total sales during the quarter.

Sainsbury’s said the business posted “strong” sales growth in toys, sports, gifts and technology categories, including wearable tech, mobile phones, computers, TVs and audio.

During the Black Friday trading period, Argos made 65% of its sales online and delivered 250,000 Fast Track deliveries across the weekend.

In the wider quarter, Argos grew online sales 13%, meaning its ecommerce proposition now accounts for 57% of its sales

Argos’s performance meant that the combined Sainsbury’s and Argos business delivered like-for-like growth of 1% excluding fuel.

Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe said: “The market remains very competitive and the impact of the devaluation of sterling remains uncertain.

“However, we are well placed to navigate the external environment and remain focused on delivering our strategy.”