Blog: Dean BestWhere is the recession for Sainsbury's?

Dean Best | 25 March 2009

You'd have to look pretty hard for signs of that the recession is hitting UK grocer Sainsbury's.

The country's third-largest retailer today (25 March) booked some pretty impressive figures, with sales growth gaining pace during the last quarter of its fiscal year.

The numbers, which prompted praise from retail analysts, look to have poured cold water on claims among some industry watchers that Sainsbury's status in the middle ground of the UK retail scene would hurt the company during the downturn.

Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King struck an upbeat tone at last week's Retail Week Conference - some said too upbeat - but he clearly knew he had these numbers ready to pull out of his back pocket.

King, a self-proclaimed optimist, has much to smile about. Sainsbury's innovative marketing campaigns, including "Switch and Save" and "Feed Your Family For A Fiver" have proved a hit with more and more cash-strapped UK consumers in recent months.

While Wal-Mart's Asda and Morrisons may be seeing sales rise faster than Sainsbury's, King's success in breathing fresh life in Sainsbury's will not have gone unnoticed at Tesco, which has not enjoyed the same kind of like-for-like sales as its more upmarket competitor.

Sainsbury's, right now, is anything but stuck in the middle.


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