Sainsburys said the quarter had been characterised by a “very tough” sales environment

Sainsbury's said the quarter had been characterised by a “very tough” sales environment

Sainsbury's achieved "record" levels of market share for its general merchandise and clothing business over the Christmas period, but group like-for-like sales remained flat.

In the 14 weeks to 4 January, the UK supermarket retailer booked like-for-like sales growth of 0.2%.

The group said its general merchandise and clothing business achieved "record" levels of market share and is now the eleventh largest retailer of clothing by value. 

CEO Justin King said the quarter had been characterised by a "very tough" sales environment throughout October and November, with customers saving up to spend over the Christmas period.

Nonetheless, the grocer recorded total sales growth of 2.5% for the period, with 28m customer transactions in the seven day run up to Christmas. Sainsbury's said it sold more than a quarter of a million Christmas jumpers and more than 300,000 onesies.

"Monday 23rd December was the busiest day and saw our biggest trading hour, with customers spending nearly GBP17m," King said. "Also on the 23rd, Stanway in Essex was our first ever store to take GBP1m in sales in one day."

On Monday (6 January), rival Asda reported "a good performance" during what it also described as a "very tough" Christmas trading period. Tesco is set to issues its trading figures tomorrow.