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Argos outperforms ‘weak’ general merch market

Sales grew strongly over Christmas says retailer, but declined overall in Q3.

Sainsbury’s has this morning released its third quarter trading statement for the 15 weeks to January 5, 2019.

Argos outperformed a ‘weak’ general merchandise market in the quarter, with strong sales growth in the key Christmas weeks.

However, over the quarter sales were impacted by a combination of cautious consumer spending and Sainsbury’s decision to reduce promotional activity across Black Friday.

This meant that for the quarter, general merchandise sales declined 2.3%, with Sainsbury’s stating that margins remain under pressure.

Clothing sales saw a slight dip of 0.2% during the period.

Mike Coupe, group chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said in a statement this morning that retail markets are “highly competitive and very promotional” and the consumer outlook continues to be uncertain.

He added: “However, we are well placed to navigate the external environment and remain focused on delivering our strategy.”

Argos’ Fast Track delivery service saw sales increase 8%, while Argos stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets that have been open for more than one year grew like for like sales by over 10%.

Total retail sales for Sainsbury’s during the 15 week period were down 0.4% with like for like sales down 1.1%. Grocery sales grew 0.4%.

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