Sainsbury’s grocery sales growth has reached a virtual standstill despite its chief executive’s goal to “put food back at the heart” of the supermarket.
In the 16 weeks to June 26, food sales rose by just 0.8 per cent compared to Q1 2020.
However, this was up by 11.3 per cent on 2019, given last year’s panic-buying as the country was hit by the first wave of Covid-19 infections.
Online grocery orders were up 29 per cent since 2020 and 142 per cent since 2019.
Ofcom revealed Sainsbury’s enthusiastic conversion to e-commerce last month, delivering to more customers over lockdown than its supermarket rivals.
General merchandise sales dipped by 1.4 per cent, dragged down by a poor showing at Sainsbury’s-owned Argos.
Overall retail sales climbed by 1.6 per cent.
“We expect to see customer shopping patterns normalise further,” chief executive Simon Roberts said, hinting growth would continue to shrink.
“We continue to make good progress against our plan to put food back at the heart of Sainsbury’s and have good momentum within the business,” he added.
He pointed to the Big 4 grocer’s latest salvo in a price war with Aldi and Lidl, reducing prices by £50 million overall.
Sainsbury’s still made a stronger showing than Tesco, which revealed in its Q1 results that sales in the UK inched up by 0.5 per cent, while falling steeply in Ireland and Central Europe.
However, lifting lockdown proved good news for its wholesale business, Booker, which increased sales by 9.2 per cent as hospitality businesses reopened.
with PA Wires