Apr 28, 2021
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Back in the groove: Sainsbury's Tu fashion sales recovered in second half

Apr 28, 2021

Sainsbury’s clothing sales have bounced back from the darker pandemic-hit days of the first half, the UK supermarket chain said in its preliminary results report for the year to 6 March.

Sainsbury's Tu clothing

While its core Tu Clothing sales were down 18.3% in the first six months of the year and by 8.5% for the 12 months, they recovered in the second half, increasing by 1.5%. The final quarter performance was even better, rising 4.2%, giving hope the upward trajectory continues into its new financial year.

Better news too was that the Tu brand also continued to gain clothing market share, Sainsbury’s said, but without giving details. 

“Tu online performed strongly throughout the year, with sales up 65% and full-price sales up 15% as customers stocked up on pyjamas, loungewear and childrenswear", the retailer said.

Meanwhile, general merchandise full-year sales grew 8.3%, improving dramatically in Q4 by 17.6%. This compares to a fall of 1.3% in the year ago’s final quarter.

Its digital/catalogue business Argos saw fiscal year sales rise 10.9% and by 18.1% in Q4, well ahead of the 0.4% rise in its last Q4. Pure digital sales grew 68% in the year, with 90% of sales starting online, Sainsbury’s noted. 

“Argos's strength in digital and our leading Fast Track delivery has helped us adapt quickly to the changes in the way people wanted to shop through the pandemic. While standalone Argos stores were closed for much of the year during lockdowns, home delivery sales increased significantly and collection from Sainsbury's stores was popular. 

It noted that over the year Argos attracted over three million new customers to Argos and sales were boosted by particularly strong growth in home and office furniture, garden essentials and home entertainment.

Within the general merchandise banner, there were no specific numbers for its Habitat ops, but the owner did says it has “transformed the reach” of the brand and it was now its leading furniture and home label.

Overall, the supermarket chain operated “strongly” across the year with group revenue (excluding VAT and fuel) inching up 0.2% to £29 billion.

Group retail sales (including VAT, but excluding fuel) rose 7.3% to £28.8 billion. Digital sales rocketed 102% to just over £12 billion. Grocery sales alone rose 7.8%. But underlying profit before tax for the year fell 39% to £356 million.

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