Sainsbury lifts total retail sales in 15 weeks to Jan. 7

Sainsbury said in the 15 weeks to Jan. 7 its total retail sales were up 0.8%, excluding fuel, and on a like-for-like basis were up 0.1%, excluding fuel.

It added that at Argos total sales rose 4.1% and like-for-like sales improved 4.0%.

Combined, Sainsbury's and Argos' like-for-like sales rose 1.0%, excluding fuel.

CEO Mike Coupe said Sainsbury enjoyed a record Christmas week, with more than 30 million customer transactions and more than £1bn of sales across the group.

"Our Groceries Online and Convenience channels performed well, achieving over nine and six per cent sales growth respectively and at Argos we saw record levels of online participation. Online sales made up 18 per cent of total Group sales in the quarter," Coupe said.

"Clothing and General Merchandise also had a very strong quarter, with Clothing sales up ten per cent and General Merchandise up three per cent.

"At Argos we delivered strong growth in the quarter, driven by the key Black Friday and Christmas trading periods. Our Argos digital stores in Sainsbury's supermarkets are performing well, as awareness of the convenience of shopping at both Sainsbury's and Argos under one roof grows among our customers.

"The market remains very competitive and the impact of the devaluation of sterling remains uncertain. However, we are well placed to navigate the external environment and remain focused on delivering our strategy."