Sainsbury’s loses out over Christmas period by refusing to slash costs

PUBLISHED: 09:10 09 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:14 09 January 2019

Sainsbury's Pound Lane. Picture: Google Maps

Sainsbury's Pound Lane. Picture: Google Maps


Despite strong trading updates from its rivals, Sainsbury’s has said sales dropped over its festive quarter.

Sainsbury's saw retail sales fall 1.1% in the 15 weeks to January 5.. Picture: PA Archive/PA ImagesSainsbury's saw retail sales fall 1.1% in the 15 weeks to January 5.. Picture: PA Archive/PA Images

The supermarket giant said general merchandise trading was hit by low consumer confidence, as Sainsbury’s refused to discount as heavily as other chains.

Including Argos but excluding fuel, like-for-like retail sales fell 1.1% in the 15 weeks to January 5.

Grocery sales rose 0.4% in that period, but this was offset by a 2.3% drop in general merchandise and a 0.2% decline for clothing.

Boss Mike Coupe said Christmas “came late” as shoppers held off until the final weeks, while he warned over an “uncertain” consumer outlook.

The group said general merchandise sales, including its Argos business, grew “strongly” over the key Christmas weeks, but this was not enough to boost the overall performance.

Mr Coupe added: “Sales declined in the quarter due to cautious customer spending and our decision to reduce promotional activity across Black Friday.

“Clothing performed well, with strong full-price sales growth in a tough market. Retail markets are highly competitive and very promotional, and the consumer outlook continues to be uncertain.”

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