- Total sales for third quarter up 2.5 per cent (2.7 per cent excluding fuel)
- Like-for-like sales for third quarter flat (0.2 per cent excluding fuel)
- 28 million customer transactions in the seven day run up to Christmas
- Strong sales growth in Taste the Difference over the Christmas period
Justin King, Chief Executive, said: "This quarter has been characterised by a very tough sales environment throughout October and November, with customers saving up in order to treat their families over the Christmas period. However, we saw strong sales in the key period over Christmas, helping record numbers of customers to Live Well for Less. Like-for-like sales excluding fuel of 0.2 per cent, coupled with a strong contribution from new space, led to our best Christmas ever.
As ever, our colleagues did a fantastic job of looking after our customers during the busiest time of the year. The seven days prior to Christmas was our busiest ever trading week, with more than 28 million transactions.
Monday 23 December was the busiest day and saw our biggest trading hour, with customers spending nearly £17 million. Also on the 23, Stanway in Essex was our first ever store to take £1 million in sales in one day. Our customers continue to see the benefits of our loyalty scheme, choosing to redeem over £120 million worth of Nectar points to help with the cost of their Christmas shop, a nine per cent increase year-on-year.
Our general merchandise and clothing business achieved record levels of market share. We are now the UK’s sixth largest retailer of homeware by value and the eleventh largest retailer of clothing by value. This year saw strong growth of over 25 per cent in Tableware and nearly 30 per cent in Gifting and we sold more than a quarter of a million Christmas jumpers and more than 300,000 onesies.
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