Sainsbury's reports strong Q1

Sales rise for the 12 weeks to 13 June 2009; Firm to focus on non-food for second quarter.
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Sales rise for the 12 weeks to 13 June 2009; Firm to focus on non-food for second quarter.

The retailer has reported sales excluding fuel for the period are up 7.6 per cent. Like-for-like sales for the first quarter are up by seven per cent excluding fuel.

The supermarket also saw a continued growth in customer numbers over the period and is now seeing over 18.5 million transactions each week.

Justin King, chief executive, said: "I'm delighted to report another strong quarter of sales growth as we continue to provide universal customer appeal and build on the strength of the Sainsbury's brand.

"Product availability and customer service metrics reached new record levels and customers continue to recognise the competitiveness of our offer. At the beginning of June we made a further significant investment in price and have now lowered 7,000 prices since January 2009.

As part of a plan to expand its non-food lines, Sainsbury's also announced that it is preparing to expand its online offering.

King explained: "We are preparing to launch our non-food offer online in the next quarter which will comprise around 8,000 products from kitchenware to furniture. We are very excited about this launch as it advances our plan to both grow our non-food offer and expand our presence online.

An intention to raise approximately £445 million via a placing of new ordinary shares and an issue of convertible bonds will provide the retailer with the financial flexibility to significantly grow its business further and faster.

King continued: “Growing space to extend our store network and to provide an even better food offer and additional space for non-food ranges is a core part of our 'Recovery to Growth' strategy.”