For the 16 weeks to 25 June, clothing sales at Sainsbury‘s Tu clothing division were down by 10.1% on the same period last year against a benefit from competitors being closed during lockdown.

Women’s dresses, holiday wear, and swimwear were said to have performed especially well as travel increased.

The supermarket retailer adds in its first-quarter trading statement that clothing sales were down by 2% in the last 11 weeks and by 26% in the first five weeks.

Total retail sales, excluding fuel, declined by 4.5% on last year, while like-for-like sales were down by 4%.

Sainsbury’s notes its outlook remains unchanged, with the group continuing to expect FY22/23 underlying profit before tax of between GBP630m (US$755m) and GBP690m.

The retailer plans to invest more than GBP500m over the two years to March 2023 in keeping its prices low, funded by cost savings.

CEO Simon Roberts says: “We really understand how hard it is for millions of households right now and that’s why we are investing GBP500m and doing everything we can to keep our prices low, especially on the products customers buy most often. We’re working hard to reduce costs right across the business so that we can keep investing in these areas that customers care most about.”

Sainsbury’s celebrated a solid finish to the year in April as its Tu division hit a GBP1bn milestone, while last month, the supermarket group introduced a partnership with UK charity Newlife to all supermarkets, where Tu clothing not sold in store will be recycled or resold to support disabled and terminally ill children.