Sainsbury's beats Christmas trading forecasts  

Sainsbury's  beats Christmas trading forecasts   

LONDON: Sainsbury's, Britain's second biggest supermarket, on Wednesday beat forecasts for underlying sales in its Christmas quarter and said it was well placed to deal with the pressures it faces in 2017.

Sainsbury's joins the fourth biggest supermarket Morrisons in reporting a better than expected performance while market leader Tesco is also expected to have done well, showing Britons were happy to splash out on food at Christmas. The firm, which last year purchased Argos-owner Home Retail, said sales at stores open over a year rose 0.1 percent, excluding fuel, in the 15 weeks to Jan. 7, its fiscal third quarter.

That compared to analysts' average forecast of a fall of 0.8 percent and a second quarter decline of 1.1 percent. "The market remains very competitive and the impact of the devaluation of sterling remains uncertain," said Chief Executive Mike Coupe. "However, we are well placed to navigate the external environment and remain focused on delivering our strategy."