The share price of Sainsbury's has fallen in the early stages of trading this morning (January 8th) following the release of the latest trading statement from the company.
It announced that in the 14 weeks to January 4th, a period that covers the traditionally lucrative festive time of year, its total sales were up by 2.5 per cent and 2.7 per cent excluding fuel.
But like-for-like sales for the third quarter were flat and this meant that stocks in the company were slightly lower on the London Stock Exchange this morning.
Chief executive at Sainsbury's Justin King stated that October and November were both characterised by a challenging sales environment for the firm.
"However, we saw strong sales in the key period over Christmas, helping record numbers of customers to Live Well for Less. Like-for-like sales excluding fuel of 0.2 per cent, coupled with a strong contribution from new space, led to our best Christmas ever," he said.
Mr King added that more than 28 million transactions were carried out by the firm in the seven days leading up to Christmas itself, which was the busiest week the company has ever seen.
"Also on the 23rd, Stanway in Essex was our first ever store to take £1 million in sales in one day. Our customers continue to see the benefits of our loyalty scheme, choosing to redeem over £120 million worth of Nectar points to help with the cost of their Christmas shop, a nine per cent increase year-on-year," he said.
Mr King also provided details of the expansion Sainsbury's has been able to achieve in the last quarter, with the company having added over 555,000 square feet of new space, comprised of six supermarkets, four extensions and 19 convenience stores.
Despite this, stocks in Sainsbury's slipped by more than one per cent this morning in the wake of the announcement. By 08:26 GMT, the share price of the company was 1.03 per cent lower.
Find up to date information on the FTSE 100 and spread betting strategies at City Index