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Sainsbury's online growth saps in-store sales

14 June 2013 - 10:03 by Sarah Collinson

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The number of customers visiting Sainsbury's supermarket outlets is falling, as more people turn to safe shopping online to buy their groceries.

This Is Money reports that while sales across Sainsbury's were up by just over half a percent in the first three months of 2013, the growth of online sales was much healthier, at 16 per cent.

Sainsbury's head honcho, Justin King, explained that consumers had developed a number of new habits as a result of the ongoing economic issues that have plagued the UK for the last five years, which has led to an increased appreciation of e-commerce, because of its money-saving potential.

King also claimed that Sainsbury's is currently the only major supermarket chain the UK which is managing to grow, with rivals like Tesco and Morrisons finding it difficult to achieve the same levels of performance.

As well as being bolstered by the fact that customers are using safe shopping online even if they are not visiting the stores in such great numbers, Sainsbury's has also found that its convenience business has had a positive impact on sales figures.

Consumers are now choosing to order a big grocery shop via the web and then top up on essentials throughout the week, from smaller, local stores.

This means that the out of town supermarket, which has made such an impact over the past two decades, could finally see its influence diminished, as a result of e-commerce and shifting consumer habits.

King also took the opportunity of announcing his company's financial performance to point out that Sainsbury's is currently the 14th biggest contributor of tax amongst UK firms, in spite of the fact that its actual size and revenues put it in 50th position.

It is no doubt a dig at online firms, like Amazon and Google, which have come under criticism for their tax affairs in recent months.