Sainsbury's posts best-ever Christmas and ups full-year guidance

Sainsbury's posts best-ever Christmas and ups full-year guidance”

Online accounted for 20 percent of the group's sales during the quarter.

Mike Coupe, the Sainsbury's chief executive, said: "We delivered an excellent operational performance across the group, with great availability, strong customer satisfaction scores and our lowest level of waste ever at Christmas".

Unlike Morrisons, which said it managed to grow sales through offering competitive prices, Sainsbury's saw more people buying its higher margin Taste the Difference food products.

It now expects underlying earnings in the range of £80m-£85m, ahead of its previous guidance of £65m, thanks in part to synergies achieved from its acquisition of Argos.

It said underlying profit before tax for the full 2017-18 year was now expected to be moderately ahead of the published analysts' consensus - an underlying pretax profit of 559 million pounds ($755.77 million), down from 581 million in 2016-17.

"Customers bought more Taste the Difference food than previous year as people treated themselves and our popular 25p veg lines helped our customers live well for less".

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He added: "General Merchandise and Clothing grew market share in a challenging market. Argos stores in Sainsbury's supermarkets performed particularly well and Argos saw record sales across the Black Fiday period".

Britons are facing pressure from slow wage growth and the jump in inflation that followed the 2016 Brexit vote.

The weaker performance is Argos is in stark contrast to past year when the catalogue retailer turbo-charged the group's Christmas sales with revenue growth of 3.7%.

Sainsbury's has warned of a challenging market as it reported sales in line with expectations despite a tough time for its Argos chain.

Overall, grocery sales grew 2.3 per cent, while online grocery sales surged 8.2 per cent and convenience sales posted a 7.3 per cent gain.

Lidl said on Wednesday that it had enjoyed another record December, with sales up 16% on the same period a year ago though the fast-expanding chain did not publish a like-for-like comparison based on the stores that were already open in 2016.

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