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Christmas 2023 update: sparkling wine boosts Sainsbury’s sales

Sainsbury’s recorded record sales of sparkling wine over Christmas, it said, as it released strong third quarter sales.

Grocery sales led the way over Christmas with sales in the six weeks to 6 January up 8.6%, or 9.3% over the quarter, compared to overall retail sales (excluding fuel) of 4.9% over Christmas, or 6.5% in the third quarter, buoying more disappointing sales in general merchandising, clothing and Argos.

Sparkling wine stood out with record sale, the retailer’s chief executive Simon Roberts noted, also pointing to the overall growth of Taste the Difference premium own label, which grew ahead of the market with sales up 13%.

“We enter 2024 with strong momentum,” he said, adding that next month Sainsbury’s will unveil an updated strategy, which would build “on all we’ve done to put food back at the heard of Sainsbury’s over the last three years.”

Yesterday, NIQ (Nielsen) data highlighted disappointing sales for UK booze over Christmas, with value sale of Champagne down -5.8% on last year and sparkling wine  down -2.7%, compared to the previous year, despite strong promotional activity on Champagne during December. However, NIQ did note the strong trading from Sainsbury’s, up +8.7% on last year, just ahead of Tesco (+7.4%), boosting its market share over the full 12 weeks to 14.3%.

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