Shares in J Sainsbury (LON:SBRY) have spiked more than six percent in London this morning after the blue-chip supermarket posted a small rise in quarterly sales, surpassing analyst forecasts for a decline. The company further recorded sales growth at Argos, which got a boost during the key Black Friday and Christmas holidays.
As of 08:40 GMT, Sainsbury’s share price had added 6.30 percent to 275.10p, outperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which has slipped marginally into the red and is currently 0.17 percent worse off at 7,263.09 points. The group’s shares have gained more than 12 percent over the past year, as compared with about a 23-percent rise in the Footsie.
Sainsbury’s announced in a statement this morning that its total retail sales had inched 0.8 percent higher in the 15 weeks to January 7, while the group’s like-for-like sales had come in 0.1 percent higher. The marginal growth is ahead of City expectations for a decline. The company also posted strong results at its Argos business, whose like-for-like sales surged 4.1 percent during the reported period.
The grocer’s chief executive Mike Coupe commented in the statement that the supermarket had seen “a record Christmas week, with over 30 million customer transactions at Sainsbury’s and over £1 billion of sales across the group,” adding that growth at Argos had been supported by the key Black Friday and Christmas trading periods.
Coupe, however, warned that the market remained “very competitive and the impact of the devaluation of sterling remains uncertain”.
Sainsbury’s results come after blue-chip peer Wm Morrison Supermarkets (LON:MRW) reported its strongest performance in seven years yesterday. Tesco (LON:TSCO), which is scheduled to post its quarterly results tomorrow, is also forecast to have done well over the crucial Christmas period.