J-sainsbury announces first quarter trading statement for the 12 weeks to 7 June 2014. Total Retail sales for first quarter up 1.0 per cent (ex fuel), down 0.3 per cent (inc fuel). Like-for-like Retail sales for first quarter down 1.1 per cent (ex fuel), down 2.4 per cent (inc fuel).
Justin King, Chief Executive, said: "Throughout the quarter we have continued to invest in reducing prices and improving quality, increasing the value of our offer. Lower food price inflation and reduced fuel prices are a welcome respite to customers’ finances but they continue to spend cautiously, leading to industry growth in the quarter being the slowest in a decade.
"Brand Match continues to reassure our customers that we remain competitive on price for their branded shop. Once again, over 50 per cent of the vouchers issued confirm to our customers that their branded shop was the same price or cheaper. Recent changes from £20 spend to 10 items makes it even easier for our customers to take advantage of Brand Match.
"We continue to invest in the quality of our product offer. Own-brand remains a key point of difference, with our Taste the Difference range performing particularly strongly in the quarter, with sales up nearly 10 per cent. This Easter we launched our first by Sainsbury’s Easter eggs, more than doubling our own-brand market share to 40 per cent1. We also successfully completed the trial of our first in-store scratch bakery in a convenience store and we continue to support British farmers by using British flour and cream in the one million products we bake from scratch every day.
"At the same time service levels in our stores remain industry leading. Strong availability throughout the day, combined with great in store standards and colleague engagement with our customers serves to highlight our differentiated offer. We are delighted that these high service levels have again been recognised, winning the Grocer 33 Customer Service and Availability Awards for the second year in a row.
"Our general merchandise and clothing businesses continued to grow strongly in the quarter with clothing in particular performing well delivering double-digit like-for-like sales growth. We have also announced a trial of a new online clothing offer, increasing the reach of our clothing business to customers across the country. Entertainment has also seen good growth, supported by new releases in the quarter including Disney’s "Frozen", where our market share exceeded 20 per cent in the first week of release.