Sainsbury hails record Christmas

Sainsbury enjoyed record-breaking Christmas trading as it increased its market share in the last three months of 2012.

Sainsbury enjoyed record-breaking Christmas trading as it increased its market share in the last three months of 2012.

But the firm warned the celebrations would probably not last into the new year.

"We expect the challenging economic backdrop to persist, with customers looking to re-balance their household budget after the festivities and so spending cautiously in the first few months of 2013," said Chief Executive Justin King.

Like-for-like sales excluding fuel were up 0.9% in the 14 weeks to January 5th, while total sales were up 3.3% (excluding fuel).

The week before Christmas was the supermarket's strongest trading week ever, with customer transactions of over 27m.

The company made a record breaking £16m of sales in one hour between 12pm and 1pm on Sunday 23rd December.

It also enjoyed its best ever Christmas Eve, at both its supermarket and convenience stores, with over £100m of sales.

But savvy customers also redeemed a record level of loyalty promotions over the Christmas period, with 22bn Nectar points worth over £110m redeemed.

The supermarket said its convenience stores had grown 17%, while online business grew 15%.

Its general merchandise and clothing ranges continued to grow at a faster rate than food, taking market share from rivals in the non-food arena.

Clothing performed particularly well, Sainsbury's said, growing at over 10% year-on-year.

Small electricals, such as toasters and kettles, rose 24% year-on-year, and cookware, grew at nearly 15% year-on-year.

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