The festive season brought great success for Sainsbury’s as its clothing brand, Tu Clothing, achieved sales that were higher than before the pandemic. Although the focus of the Q3 trading statement was on the supermarket’s grocery business, it was revealed that clothing sales increased by 5.1% during the core festive shopping period.

Tu Clothing is a prominent retailer in the UK, offering a wide range of clothing, footwear, and accessories. The brand is available in Sainsbury’s stores and online, and it also has a strong presence in general merchandise through its Argos chain.

Overall retail sales, excluding petrol, experienced an impressive growth of 5.2% in the 16 weeks leading up to January 7th (with a 5.9% like-for-like increase), and a further 7.1% growth in the shorter six-week period. This growth can be attributed to inflation and a relatively stable volume trend.

In the 16-week period, clothing sales only increased by 1.6%, but saw a significant uplift of 5.1% in the shorter period. The cold weather towards the end of the quarter played a role in driving the sales growth for Tu Clothing, with knitwear and Christmas pyjamas being particularly popular among customers.

It is worth noting that the retailer’s clothing revenue was down by 0.4% compared to the pre-pandemic Q3 sales. However, it still showed a remarkable 14.6% increase compared to the Christmas period three years ago.

Sainsbury’s also experienced stronger-than-expected growth in its general merchandise (GM) category, showcasing its success in gaining market share. Customers not only valued Sainsbury’s and Argos for their affordability, but also appreciated the convenience and speed of Argos Fast Track delivery and Click & Collect services.

In the 16-week period, total GM sales increased by 4.6%, with Argos experiencing a 4.5% growth, and Sainsbury’s brand GM seeing a 5.4% growth. During the shorter six-week period, GM sales rose by 7.4%, with Argos and Sainsbury’s brand GM growing by 7.1% and 9.1% respectively.

Despite this growth, GM sales remained 6.9% below pre-pandemic levels in Q3 and 2.2% lower than the pre-Covid Christmas period.

In conclusion, Sainsbury’s Tu Clothing brand had a successful festive season with sales surpassing pre-pandemic levels. The retailer’s general merchandise category also experienced growth thanks to market share gains and the popularity of its delivery and collection services. Despite the challenges faced by the overall market, Sainsbury’s managed to achieve positive results during this period.

Useful links:
Sainsbury’s Celebrations and Party Food
Sainsbury’s Chocolate, Biscuits & Crisps