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Sainsbury’s ‘confident’ in multichannel approach in challenging market

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Sainsbury’s today said it was confident in its multichannel strategy in the face of “challenging” market conditions.

The supermarket, a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research, said online grocery sales had grown by 8% in the first quarter of its financial year, while orders were up by 13%. A new groceries online app has been launched with the promise of making online shopping more flexible. Meanwhile, sales in its convenience stores – a key channel in its strategy of enabling shoppers to buy whenever and wherever they want – grew by more than 6%. Seven new convenience stores opened during the quarter.

The update came as Sainsbury’s reported total sales up by 0.3% in the first quarter of the year – the 12 weeks to June 4 – but like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of new and closed stores, down by 0.8%. The number of transactions grew across all channels. The retailer moved to reduce its promotions, following a strategy that has seen it start to phase out multi-buy offers. Today it said the vast majority would be phased out by August.

Chief executive Mike Coupe said the figures represented a “solid start to the year”. “Market conditions remain challenging,” he said. “Food price deflation continues to impact our sales and pressures on pricing mean the market will remain competitive for the foreseeable future. However, we are confident that our strategy to be a trusted multichannel, multi-product and services retailer is delivering and will enable us to continue to outperform our major peers.”

The supermarket is currently running a trial using a camera-enabled Bosch fridge that allows families taking part to see what is in their fridge from the supermarket – a move designed to reduce unnecessary waste.

In full-year results, reported last month, Sainsbury’s said it was well on track to delivering shoppers the multichannel experience they want – and that its mooted takeover of Argos would help them to deliver that.

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