Sales proved higher than expected throughout Q1 (to 26th June 2021) for Sainsbury's, with LFL and total retail sales (excluding fuel) both up +1.6%. General merchandise sales were down -1.4%, but up +5.6% Yo2Y.
Argos sales were up +6.7% Yo2Y, but down YoY against "exceptionally tough comparatives of the spring 2020 lockdown when many competitors were closed and good weather brought forward seasonal sales".
The retailer says that home and furniture sales were strong, boosted by the transition to the Habitat brand and good performance in bedroom and upholstery categories, offset by declines in some categories that performed exceptionally well during lockdown last year such as laptops, TVs, toys, office furniture and outdoor and seasonal products. It also notes that global supply challenges have limited customer choice in a number of areas.
Sainsbury’s general merchandise performed well, with double-digit sales growth driven by gifting, events and homeware.
The retailer says it is making good progress on its Argos transformation programme, with the cost reduction programme on track and the opening of the first Local Fulfilment Centre in Bristol last month. It opened 20 Argos stores inside Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the quarter, bringing the total to 356, and closed 14 standalone Argos stores, bringing the total to 387.