Festive fashion strong for Sainsbury's as Tu Clothing beats pre-pandemic sales
The Sainsbury’s Q3 trading statement on Wednesday many have been mainly about the supermarket giant’s grocery operations, but it also revealed that clothing sales rose 5.1% in the core festive shopping season.
The retailer is one of the biggest clothing, footwear and accessories retailers in the UK through its Tu Clothing label that’s available in its stores and online, and is also a major name in general merchandise through its Argos chain.
It said total retail sales excluding petrol rose 5.2% in the 16 weeks to 7 January (+5.9% like-for-like) and 7.1% in the shorter six-week period to the start of this month, “reflecting inflation and relatively resilient volume trend”.
Within that, clothing may have risen only 1.6% in the 16 weeks, but it was up by the aforementioned 5.1% in the shorter period. Cold weather towards the end of the quarter drove an uplift in sales for Tu Clothing, with knitwear and Christmas pyjamas particularly popular with customers.
Clothing revenue for the retailer was actually down 0.4% on the pre-pandemic Q3 as a whole, but it was 14.6% ahead of the Christmas period three years ago.
It added that its general merchandise (GM) growth was stronger than expected, reflecting market share gains “as customers trusted Sainsbury's and Argos for value and the speed and certainty of Argos Fast Track delivery and Click & Collect”.
Total GM sales rose 4.6% in the 16 weeks and 7.4% in the six weeks with Argos up 4.5% and 7.1%, respectively over those two periods, and Sainsbury’s brand GM up 5.4% and 9.1%.
That said, GM overall remained 6.9% down on the pre-pandemic Q3 and 2.2% down of the pre-Covid Christmas period.
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