Sainsbury’s expects shoppers to push their main festive shop closer to Christmas than ever before.

Sainsbury’s retail and logistics director Roger Burnley said Christmas falling on Sunday is “perfect for retailers” as stores will close on the shortest trading day but meant last-minute shopping will be rife.

Burnley said Sainsbury’s is well set to be fully stocked on Christmas Eve which could prove key.

He said: “We still expect the 23rd to be the busiest day but expect many people to work a full week and do a much larger shop on Christmas Eve than normal, rather than just an emergency shop.”

Sainsbury’s depot expects to deliver 12,000 tonnes – a 40% increase on an normal week – into store during Christmas week to meet increased demand.

The retailer is holding 12,000 tonnes of grit across its regional depots in preparation for potential snow problems, with a further 4,000 tonnes waiting in the wings if the grocer needs it.

Burnley said: “We saw last year when there was bad weather our smaller, local stores did better. Interestingly, Tesco blamed their Christmas performance on the poor weather but we experienced the same weather and did well.”

Burnley also backed the retailers’ Brand Match strategy which has made around 50% of baskets cheaper at Sainsbury’s than Asda or Tesco, Sainsbury’s claim.

He said: “We have now issued 30 million Brand Match coupons. We have long had an issue where people think we are more expensive than we actually are on brands but this shows we are not.

“You can see that people are carefully planning their Christmas shop but we also have seen that they react well to promotions and events.”

Last night, BBC One aired a Panorama programme entitled The Truth About Supermarket Price Wars which uncovered a series of pricing tactics, some of which are in breach of consumer regulations.