In Sainsbury's interim results for the 28 weeks ended 18th September 2021, posted today, the retailer proclaims a strong performance with market share gains – yet the growth was not driven by general merchandise sales, which fell -5.8% YoY, as expected against strong lockdown and seasonal sales comparatives, but grew +1.1% Yo2Y.
Sainsbury's says that brands including Argos and Habitat are "clearly focused on supporting the core food business". In H1, Argos' transformation continued, with significant reductions made to its cost base and improvements to the customer offer, while the iconic Habitat brand was relaunched, alongside the introduction of Habitat Kids.
Argos' sales were down -7.3% YoY in the half, albeit against strong comparatives.
Simon Roberts, chief executive of J Sainsbury, says: “We have grown market share through improving value for customers, tripling our rate of food innovation and delivering customer satisfaction ahead of our key competitors.
“Whilst customers are returning to many pre-pandemic shopping habits, online sales have remained very strong and we continue to grow market share. At the same time, our plan to transform Argos is on track, delivering significantly improved profitability.
“Our industry faces labour and supply chain challenges. However our scale, advanced cost-saving programme, logistics operations and strong supplier relationships put us in a good position as we head into Christmas.”
The retailer expects customer behaviour to normalise and grocery growth to moderate.