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Sainsbury's buoyed after attracting 800,000 new customers
ONE of the UK's largest supermarkets has seen sales rise and welcomed record customer numbers after defying the horsemeat scandal.
Sainsbury's said total sales for the year were up by 7.1 per cent, with bosses saying it had benefited from increased business in its convenience stores and clothing range, making £1bn in non-grocery sales.
The company, which is the country's third-largest behind Tesco and Asda, revealed like-for-like sales were up by 4.2 per cent for the fourth quarter for 2012, with equivalent sales for the full year rising by 2.1 per cent.
It said it is serving about 22.9m customers every week, a rise of more than 800,000, and picked up shoppers during the horsemeat scandal, when traces were found in some beef products of its rivals.
Chief executive Justin King said none of the chain's products were found to contain horsemeat and expected the company's success to continue, despite the retail sector staying extremely tough.
He said: “We have delivered strong sales, increased market share and are outperforming in what remains a tough environment. “We are serving more customers than ever, and Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day were both particularly strong.
“Our focus on quality is an important reason why customers choose to shop with us, and sales in our own-brand products have grown by around nine per cent year-on-year.
“We have also invested heavily in our supply chain, such as our Farmer Development Groups.
“Our fresh chicken has been 100 per cent British since 2003, all of our fresh beef is sourced from the UK and Ireland and we have routinely carried out DNA testing on our products for more than ten years.
“The issues experienced by the industry underscore the importance the need to understand our supply chain.”
Mr King said the chain's online grocery sales had risen by nearly 20 per cent, serving 190,000 customer a week, and revealed clothing transactions had increased three-fold over food sales.
The company has built 14 new supermarkets this year across the UK and added 87 convenience stores.
Mr King said: “Our general merchandise and clothing business is growing at nearly three times the rate of food, and in February, we reached the milestone of £1bn annual sales from general merchandise.
“We saw our best ever January sale, with sales up 19 per cent year-on-year, and we have continued to see strong growth in clothing at nearly 20 per cent year-on-year, and home accessories nearly 25 per cent year-on-year.
“We expect the challenging economic environment to continue, but by helping customers through our ongoing commitment to great quality, we are well positioned to continue to outperform the market.”