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Sainsbury’s reveals a surge in sales after horse meat scandal
10:48am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in Business: Shares
ONE of the UK’s largest supermarkets has seen sales rise and welcomed record customer numbers after defying the horse meat scandal.
Sainsbury’s said total sales for the year were up by 7.1 per cent, with bosses saying it had benefited from increased business in its convenience stores and clothing range, making £1bn in non-grocery sales.
The company, which is the country’s third-largest behind Tesco and Asda, revealed likefor- like sales were up by 4.2 per cent for the fourth quarter last year, with equivalent sales for the full year rising by 2.1 per cent. It said it is serving about 22.9 million customers every week, an increase of more than 800,000, and picked up shoppers during the horse meat scandal, when traces were found in some beef products of its rivals.
Chief executive Justin King said none of the chain’s products were found to contain horse meat and he expected the company’s success to continue, despite the retail sector staying extremely tough.
He said: “We have delivered strong sales, increased market share and are outperforming in what remains a tough environment. We are serving more customers than ever, and Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day were both particularly strong.
“Our focus on quality is an important reason why customers choose to shop with us, and sales in our own-brand products have grown by about nine per cent year-on-year.
“We have also invested heavily in our supply chain, such as our farmer development groups.
“Our fresh chicken has been 100 per cent British since 2003, all of our fresh beef is sourced from the UK and Ireland and we have routinely carried out DNA testing on our products for more than ten years.
“The issues experienced by the industry underscore the importance the need to understand our supply chain.”
Mr King said the chain’s online grocery sales had risen by nearly 20 per cent, serving 190,000 customer a week, and revealed clothes sales had risen three-fold over food sales.
The company built 14 supermarkets last year across the UK and added 87 convenience stores.
Mr King said: “Our general merchandise and clothing business is growing at nearly three times the rate of food, and in February, we reached the milestone of £1bn annual sales from general merchandise.
We also saw our best ever January, with sales up 19 per cent year-on-year.”
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