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Sainsbury’s hits record online orders

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Online grocery sales at Sainsbury’s grew by almost a fifth in the first quarter of its financial year, hitting a record 120,000 weekly orders.

In a trading statement for the first 12 weeks of the year to June 12, the retailer reported a rise in online sales just shy of 20%.

Justin King, chief executive, put growth in online and across the retailer down to a focus on operational excellence. He said: “Our groceries online business continues to deliver record levels of service and availability which, given our store-pick model, represents the purest measure of on-shelf availability for customer.”

Total sales at the retailer grew by 7.6% in the quarter, or 4.4% excluding fuel. Like-for-like sales grew by 4.6%.

The quarter included the company’s biggest-ever week in clothing, said King, while he said it was also “the UK’s fastest growing DVD retailer.” World Cup goods – including its Vuvuzela horns – were selling well.

And the retailer said its values, including support for British farming and animal welfare, were also standing it in good stead. Sainsbury’s sells 62% of all RSPCA Freedom Food-endorsed food in the UK, it said.

Its growth plans had seen a supermarket opened and two stores extended in the quarter, while accelerated space growth plans are set to mean 1.45m sq ft added to the store estate in the current financial year.

King added: “While we continue to expect the consumer environment to remain challenging, our universal customer appeal, unique loyalty offer and accelerated growth strategy mean we are well-placed to make continued good progress.”

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