Clothing sales at Sainsbury’s continued to grow at around twice the rate of food sales during its first half as the supermarket chain reported a 7% increase in profits.
In the 28 weeks to September 28, total sales including VAT and fuel rose 4.4% to £13.95bn as like-for-like sales grew 1.4%. Underlying pre-tax profit increased 7% to £400m.
The supermarket said it had outperformed the market, increasing its market share to 16.8%, the highest for a decade during which the retailer has seen 35 consecutive quarters of like-for-like sales growth.
During the period Sainsbury’s relaunched the Tu clothing brand, which represents its single biggest investment in its clothing business since it launched the brand in 2004.
In its interim results statement the retailer said: “Our strategy of offering high street quality and style at supermarket prices is helping non-food sales grow at around twice the rate of food and gain market share.”
Tu now boasts more than 7.5 million customers and this year Sainsbury’s held its biggest ever Back to School event selling more than one million children’s polo shirts and more than 500,000 pairs of school trousers.
Clothing and general merchandise are now available in more than 400 stores, but the retailer said it has “opportunities for future growth in this area”.
Chief executive Justin King added: “Whilst customers‟ budgets remain tight and any recovery in the economy may take time to take effect, our consistent strategy and strong values-driven culture mean we are well placed to continue to deliver for customers, colleagues and shareholders.”