Supermarket brand Sainsbury’s reported a dip in sales over the festive period, mainly due to a poor showing from Argos.
While like-for-like sees for the last quarter fell 0.7%, the FTSE 100-listed retailer showed a strong performance from online channels, with sales up 5%, and clothing – who knew? – which grew 4.4%.
The firm’s shares edged 1.25% lower at £2.29 on Wednesday morning.
The company said that retail markets remain highly competitive and that the consumer outlook continues to be uncertain.
However, it also said it was well placed to navigate the choppy waters.
“We gave our customers a great combination of quality food at good prices this Christmas and we delivered a standout performance operationally”, Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said.
“We have a real sense of momentum in Sainsbury’s and investment in our stores and improvements to service and availability have led to our highest customer satisfaction scores of the year.
“Our digital investments are also paying off and over 20% of our business was online in the quarter.
Record online orders
“Groceries Online had record order numbers throughout the Christmas period and customers are increasingly choosing to shop with SmartShop in our supermarkets.
“Argos had its biggest digital Black Friday to date and record sales through mobile and via Argos Click and Collect. 32 million customers shopped with us across Sainsbury’s and Argos in the key Christmas week.
“The colder weather helped to deliver strong clothing sales in the quarter and our Christmas, party and gifting ranges were all popular with customers.
“Argos outperformed the market in consumer electronics, but the toy and gaming markets declined year on year.”