Sainsbury, Nichols and Just Eat Takeaway.com trading updates

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Sainsbury's upgraded profit guidance, predicting underlying profit guidance of £720m
Sainsbury's upgraded profit guidance, predicting underlying profit guidance of £720m

Related tags: Finance, Npd, Drinks, Supply chain

Sainsbury's treads water, Vimto delivers for Nichols and Just Eat Takeaway.com reports substantial growth in the latest financial roundup.

Sainsbury's

In a trading statement covering the 16 weeks to 8 January, Sainsbury reported grocery sales down 1.1% on the same period in the previous year. However, it had closed on Boxing Day, while remaining open on that day last year. Allowing for that, sales were up 0.8% over the six weeks to 8 January 2022 on the same period in the previous year.

Taste The Difference launches had delivered particularly well. The supermarket launched more than 600 new products in its third financial quarter, of which 300 were Christmas products and 100 were premium Taste The Difference products, as part of plans to triple product innovation levels.

New Taste the Difference products in party food, desserts, wines and spirits had proved popular and the business reported record sales of champagne and sparkling wines. Taste the Difference sales had risen 13% over two years in its key Christmas weeks.

Meat-free alternative centrepieces had also done well, with popular products including Plant Pioneers Maple Glazed No Gammon Joint and No Salmon Encroute.

Online grocery sales fell by 15.1% in the six weeks to 8 January 2022 and by 16.5% in the 16 weeks of 8 January. However, that was against a backdrop of strong comparatives in the previous year. The company claimed they still reached double the level of two years ago.

The supermarket chain upgraded profit guidance, predicting underlying profit guidance of £720m in the financial year to March 2022.

Sainsbury expected to report total grocery sales up 7.1% in the final quarter of the financial year, with total like-for-like sales excluding fuel up 11.3%.

Clive Black, director and head of research at Shore Capital, called the results 'surprisingly positive', particularly in view of market analyst NielsenIQ's prediction of an estimated 1% sales contraction year-on-year for UK multiple grocers.

Commenting on Sainsbury's financial expectations, Black said: "... The upgraded guidance from Sainsbury's appears to be driven by positive operational gearing in grocery, noting the moving parts in the operating channels with rising immediate costs offset by ongoing structural savings, volumes boosted by pandemic-conditioned household behaviour it should be said, which hopefully will not be recurring next year."

Sainsbury's chief executive Simon Roberts said: "More people ate at home and our significant investment in value, innovation and service led to market share growth. At the same time, we are pleased to increase profit guidance for the full year.  

"The backdrop was challenging and our teams worked hard throughout the year to make sure we had all of the products everyone wanted. Our suppliers did a great job in challenging conditions throughout the quarter and I thank them for all their support for our business."

Just Eat Takeaway.com

In the pure play online channel, in a fourth quarter trading update, Just Eat Takeaway.com reported orders up by 33% in 2021, representing €28.2bn in sales, helped by UK on demand grocery delivery partnerships with Asda and One Stop. The UK & Ireland was the fastest growing segment for the fourth quarter and the year, while significantly improving adjusted profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

The company said it would continue to invest heavily, especially in its London network, while it expected to further improve profitability in 2022.

Nichols

Elsewhere, in a trading statement for the 12 months to 31 December, soft drinks firm Nichols reported total group sales up 22% to £144.3m, in line with 2019 figures. It claimed it had grown sales of Vimto 5.6% in the year to 4 December. Export sales of the brand had achieved double digit growth versus the previous year.

Out-of-home sales continued to recover from the hit they took from successive COVID-19 lockdowns, up 77% year-on-year, although still down 31% on the 2019 financial year.

 

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