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Strong online performance helps Sainsburys exceed sales expectations

20 March 2013 - 09:54 by Graham Miller

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While it seems that supermarket shopping may gradually be descending from its previous position of dominance, the latest figures suggest that a combination of e-commerce and convenience stores are helping some of the UK's biggest retailers to survive.

Reuters reports that Sainsbury's managed to stave off stagnation in sales, thanks to both of these areas.

In fact the final quarter of 2012 was a particularly good one for its safe shopping online service, which saw a 20 per cent surge in sales compared to the same period in 2011.

Its convenience stores were also doing well, with sales up by 18 per cent, which provides a real indication that consumers are changing their shopping habits.

There are a number of reasons for the shifts in the ways that we buy our groceries and not all of them are directly related to the rise of safe shopping online.

While consumers are taking advantage of e-commerce services to order groceries in larger numbers than ever before, other factors, such as rising fuel costs, are causing them to avoid out of town supermarkets.

Sainsbury's is still the UK's third largest supermarket, behind Asda and Tesco, but its early entry into the e-commerce delivery and convenience store markets has given it a real resilience in the choppy economic climate.

In total, Sainsbury's saw a 3.6 per cent year on year increase in like for like sales during the final months of 2012, with analysts stating that this was only achievable thanks to its e-commerce and convenience strategies.

This was actually above the rates originally predicted, which means Sainsbury's is outperforming market expectations.

Meanwhile, Tesco is thought to be preparing its own report, which will show either a slight dip in sales or fairly flat growth. This puts Sainsbury's in a good position going forwards in 2013.