J Sainsbury has announced its continued support for its fiscal 2024 guidance after experiencing strong growth in grocery sales over the Christmas period.
The British supermarket chain expects its underlying pretax profit, which excludes exceptional and one-off items, to be between £670 million and £700 million ($851.6 million and $889.8 million).
Furthermore, retail free cash flow for the fiscal year ending in March is predicted to be at least £600 million.
Although weaker contributions from its general-merchandise and financial-services businesses are expected, the company anticipates that a resilient performance in its grocery sector will offset any potential decrease.
In the 16 weeks ended January 6, sales excluding fuel increased by 6.5% compared to the same period the previous year. Like-for-like sales also rose by 7.4%.
During the six-week Christmas period, sales saw a growth of 4.9%. The grocery sector experienced the greatest increase at 8.6%, fueled by strong volume growth despite lower inflation.
The success can be attributed to positive customer feedback regarding J Sainsbury's new "Nectar Prices" loyalty card program and consumers indulging in the premium "Taste the Difference" range.
On the other hand, clothing sales plummeted by 6% during the Christmas period, and general merchandise fell by 3.7% in comparison to the previous year's impressive figures.
CEO Simon Roberts commented that the company has entered 2024 with promising momentum and will reveal its updated strategy next month.
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