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Sainsbury’s and Tesco see double digit online growth over Christmas

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Supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Tesco this week reported healthy online growth over Christmas.

First to report figures was Sainsbury’s, which said its multichannel offer was delivering “strongly”, as it celebrated a record-breaking Christmas.

Online trading grew by more than 15% in the 14 weeks to January 5, Sainsbury’s said in a third quarter trading statement, while the supermarket’s convenience business grew by more than 17%. Both helped sales to stay positive across the business: across its channels, like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, were slightly ahead by 0.9% over the period. Including fuel, they were up by 1.5%.

Sainsbury’s said it delivered a record 200,000 online food orders during its busiest week. Click and collect came to the fore in its non-food online business, with 60% of general merchandise orders collected through the service.

The week before Christmas was Sainsbury’s strongest ever, with more than 27m transactions. “We saw a record-breaking £16m of sales in one hour between 12pm and 1pm on Sunday December 23 and experienced our best ever Christmas Eve, at both our supermarket and convenience stores, with over £100m of sales,” said chief executive Justin King.

Throughout the business, sales of general merchandise grew faster than food, with clothing up by 10%, year-on-year, small electricals by more than 24%, and cookware by nearly 15%. Own brands also saw sales grow three times as fast as those of other brands, with the by Sainsbury’s brand growing at nearly 5%, year-on-year.

King added “This Christmas we have helped more customers than ever to Live Well for less, delivering another quarter of good sales in a challenging retail environment, increasing market share.”

Meanwhile, Tesco announced online food sales up by 18% in the six weeks to January 5. In a Christmas and New Year trading statement it said 5% of the more than half a million orders placed in the week before Christmas were collected through its drive-through Click & Collect service. Sales of general merchandise through the Tesco Direct business were up by more than 16%.

At the same time, UK like-for-like sales were up by 1.8%, with total UK sales up by 4.2%% or 4.3% excluding petrol. Total group sales were up by 3.8% including petrol, and 3.9% excluding petrol.

“This performance,” said Tesco chief excutive Philip Clarke, “was driven by a further improvement in our food business in-store and a strong contribution from online, which included our biggest ever week for internet sales, a successful first Christmas for Grocery Click & Collect and a better performance for Tesco Direct, our online general merchandise business.”


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