Tesco blamed extreme winter weather conditions for deterring shoppers, after posting worse-than-expected figures for Christmas sales. However, Sainsbury’s has had a better than expected Christmas and puts it down to the power of Jamie Oliver.
Tesco said that sales at UK stores open at least a year had grown by just 0.6% including VAT but excluding fuel; excluding both, like-for-like sales fell 0.4% for the period which covers the six weeks to January 8th.
Sainsbury's on the other hand saw like for like sales rise by 3.6% in the 14 weeks to January 8th compared to the same period a year before.
The Jamie Oliver promotion of the Taste the Difference brand help boost sales and turnover. It would appear that a strong performance in the high end luxury goods market made the difference for Sainsbury's in spite of the bad weather and low consumer confidence.
This is an interesting outcome as it flies in the face of any pre-Christmas predictions about consumer spending. The advice was that people would have less money to spare and therefore be looking for bargains.
This should make retailers think twice about marking stock down before Christmas. It is the one time in the year when people want to spend money on a bit of luxury and they are generally not looking for cheap deals either when buying gifts or when entertaining friends.
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