Sainsbury's profits boosted by 'record' Christmas trading


The retailer also said that its General Merchandise and Clothing businesses "outperformed the market in challenging conditions".

"Argos stores in Sainsbury's supermarkets performed particularly well and Argos saw record sales across the Black Friday period", it said.

United Kingdom supermarket chain J Sainsbury PLC on Wednesday lifted its annual profit guidance after strong end to the year, with Argos delivering a particularly strong performance on Black Friday. Friday 22 was our biggest sales day for stores and we also delivered an online grocery order to customers every second.

Sainsbury's, which extended its product range when it bought toys and electricals retailer Argos for 1.1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) in 2016, indicated that trend would continue this year.

Sainsbury's now expects its full-year underlying profit before tax to be "moderately ahead" of the published consensus.

Total revenue rose 1.2 per cent in the period, with grocery sales growing 2.3 per cent.

Sainsbury's said it now expected to achieve 80-85 million pounds ($108-115 million) of earnings synergies from Argos by March 2018, ahead of previous guidance of 65 million pounds.

Total retail sales were up 1.2 per cent on a year ago. Sainsbury's opened 52 Argos stores inside supermarkets during the period, bringing the current total to 164. It also opening four Mini Habitat stores taking the total number to 15.

At the other end of the price scale, the supermarket offered key Christmas vegetable lines for just 25p.

The positive trading update comes a day after Kantar Worldpanel said Sainsbury's market share had dropped to 16.4% from 16.7%.

"Morrisons group LFL sales excluding fuel were up 2.8% in the ten weeks to Jan 7th 2018, and up 3.7% over the last six weeks against very strong comparators".

"We have to acknowledge the fact that the (non-food) market is challenging and there's certainly a little bit of a squeeze on consumer disposable income and where people are able to defer purchases they do", Chief Executive Mike Coupe told reporters.

Sainsbury's now has a 16.2 per cent share of the overall United Kingdom grocery market, according to analytics firm Kantar Worldpanel, behind Tesco but ahead of Asda and Morrisons.

Boss Mike Coupe told media the group was pleased with the performance and how online sales and premium food ranges helped boost growth: "Customers bought more Taste the Difference food than past year as people treated themselves and our popular 25p veg lines helped our customers live well for less".