Sainsbury’s loses out over Christmas period by refusing to slash costs

Sainsbury's Pound Lane. Picture: Google Maps

Sainsbury's Pound Lane. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

Despite strong trading updates from its rivals, Sainsbury's has said sales dropped over its festive quarter.

Sainsbury's saw retail sales fall 1.1% in the 15 weeks to January 5.. Picture: PA Archive/PA Images

Sainsbury's saw retail sales fall 1.1% in the 15 weeks to January 5.. Picture: PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The supermarket giant said general merchandise trading was hit by low consumer confidence, as Sainsbury's refused to discount as heavily as other chains.

Including Argos but excluding fuel, like-for-like retail sales fell 1.1% in the 15 weeks to January 5.

Grocery sales rose 0.4% in that period, but this was offset by a 2.3% drop in general merchandise and a 0.2% decline for clothing.

Boss Mike Coupe said Christmas 'came late' as shoppers held off until the final weeks, while he warned over an 'uncertain' consumer outlook.


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The group said general merchandise sales, including its Argos business, grew 'strongly' over the key Christmas weeks, but this was not enough to boost the overall performance.

Mr Coupe added: 'Sales declined in the quarter due to cautious customer spending and our decision to reduce promotional activity across Black Friday.

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'Clothing performed well, with strong full-price sales growth in a tough market. Retail markets are highly competitive and very promotional, and the consumer outlook continues to be uncertain.'

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