Sainsbury’s clothing sales were up nearly 10% year on year in the 14 weeks to January 3, 2015.
However, food price deflation hit total retail sales, which, excluding fuel, were down 0.4%. Like-for-likes fell 1.7%.
The seven days leading up to Christmas was a “record” week for Sainsbury’s, with more than 29.5 million transactions. Its First World War-inspired video, produced alongside The Royal British Legion, was YouTube’s most watched Christmas video in 2014, with more than 16 million views.
The retailer said general merchandise and its Tu clothing business in particular traded strongly over the quarter. It sold twice as many Christmas jumpers as last year.
Sainsbury’s opened 25 convenience stores and four supermarkets during the period.
Chief executive Mike Coupe said: “The outlook for the remainder of the financial year is set to remain challenging, with food price deflation likely to continue.
“Our performance in the third quarter showed an improving trend quarter-on-quarter. However, given the uncertainty in the trading environment, food price deflation and the price reductions we announced this week, we currently expect our fourth quarter like-for-like to be similar to that of our first half.”