Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has reported a decline in general merchandise sales with Argos suffering.
According to its first quarter trading update for the 16 weeks to 25 June 2022, total Argos sales were down 10.5% in the period, while also down 4.5% on a comparison to Q1 19/20.
Argos sales were down 7% in the last 11 weeks of the quarter, and down 19% in the first five weeks.
General Merchandise sales in the period were in line with expectations, down 11.2%, but did deliver an improved sales trend following the first five-week period when non-essential retail was closed during lockdown last year.
Sainsbury’s said that it closed six Argos standalone stores and opened five Argos stores inside its supermarkets, bringing the total to 405 stores inside supermarket, while also opening its seventh new Local Fulfilment Centre, enabling more customers to buy from Argos faster.
Its group outlook remains unchanged and continues to expect FY22/23 underlying profit before tax of between £630m and £690m.
Simon Roberts, Chief Executive of J Sainsbury plc, said: “We really understand how hard it is for millions of households right now and that’s why we are investing £500 million 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. The progress we are making on improving value, quality, innovation and service is reflected in our improved grocery volume market share.”
Sainbury’s also revealed that after six years as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Kevin O’Byrne has confirmed his intention to retire from Sainsbury’s at the end of this financial year, in March 2023.
Following a thorough external and internal search to identify a successor, the Board has appointed Bláthnaid Bergin, Commercial and Retail Finance Director, as Kevin’s successor. Bláthnaid will start as Chief Financial Officer and join the PLC board on 6th March 2023.