Total sales of Sainbury’s Tu clothing line fell by 4.5% in the the first quarter of the 2019/20 financial year, blaming challenging market conditions and poor weather for ”impacting demand in some seasonal categories”.
Its total retail sales (excluding fuel) fell by 1.2%, while general merchandise (non-food) sales dropped by 3.1%. The results cover the 16 weeks to 29 June.
Sainsbury’s said in a statement that it is now the fifth biggest clothing retailer in the UK by volume, up from sixth.
Mike Coupe, chief executive, said: “We continue to adapt our business to changing shopping habits and made good progress in a challenging market. In a tough trading environment, we gained market share in key general merchandise categories and in clothing, where we are now the UK’s fifth largest retailer by volume.
“We will invest in 400 supermarkets this year, including adding an enhanced beauty offer in 100 stores. We are accelerating investment in technology: 148 supermarkets now have SmartShop self-scan, 206 Argos stores offer Pay@Browse and we upgraded 29 more Argos stores to digital formats, all helping to make shopping with us quicker and easier.
“In May, we celebrated Sainsbury’s 150th birthday. Our focus on giving customers high quality products at good value remains as true today as it was 150 years ago.”