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Online Sales Surge Continues

03 July 2020 - 14:55 by Simon Crisp

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Figures published by Sainsbury’s this week show that it enjoyed double-digit sales increases for its online grocery ordering service in the past three months while also seeing strong growth at Argos, the well-known retail brand it took over back in 2016.

Overall its sales were up by 8.2 per cent, but the real star of the show was e-commerce, where grocery sales made via safe shopping online increased by 11 per cent during the quarter in which many bricks and mortar retailers were struggling to adapt to the lockdown conditions imposed due to the current pandemic.

Much of the web-based growth was catalysed by an influx of newcomers, with Sainsbury’s estimating that half of all sales were generated by consumers who had previously not made use of its e-commerce grocery ordering service.

With a 10.7 per cent rise in sales at Argos, according to Internet Retailing, it is apparent that Sainsbury’s has been able to weather the storm of COVID-19 well, even when considering products which are non-essential.

Over 650,000 people placed grocery orders with Sainsbury’s on a weekly basis over the course of the past quarter, although there was a 26.7 per cent decline in the number of clothing products purchased during this period.

Company spokesperson Simon Roberts explained that Sainsbury’s has had to radically alter its business in the wake of the pandemic, especially in the case of Argos, which was required to effectively become a pure-play online retailer while its physical outlets were closed to contain the spread of the virus.

Roberts also pointed to other factors that have helped to influence and improve sales in recent weeks, with the improving weather conditions helping to convince more consumers to order online even if economic uncertainty might otherwise have interfered with spending habits just as much as the lockdown.