Games overtake groceries at Sainsbury's

Rui Vieira/PA

The highstreet is holding out for a sales boost as Christmas shopping grips the nation, but it may be waiting a while as supermarkets continue to offer more popular non-food products.

The video game Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 3, was the best selling item at Sainsbury's when it launched two weeks ago, and the supermarket predicts this week's best seller will be the DVD of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2.

The sales data for the popular video game is unveiled as Sainsbury's announces its strategy to increase its non-food sales by 70%. Meanwhile, Game, the country's largest video games retailer, issued a profit warning earlier this month after its sales dropped heavily - although it insisted it was not losing market share to supermarkets.

In a regular week, Sainsbury's best selling products may be milk and bread, but when eagerly awaited non-food items are released, data shows sales of these popular products - based on value, rather than volume - surpass food staples. For example, the supermarket plans to sell 420,000 copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 in the run up to Christmas.

Sainsbury's accounts for about 10% of the non-food market covered by the supermarket chains, compared with its 17% share of the grocery market. According to the Daily Telegraph, Sainsbury's commercial director, Mike Coupe said: "There is still a big opportunity for us to grown non-food. Our aspiration is to grow it to 17pc.

"The online retailers are an increasing presence in electricals and entertainment and that is putting a squeeze on traditional outlets in non-food. The grocers will continue to grow share. It has been the trend for the last 15 years or so but it is being exaggerated by the squeeze on consumers."

Mr Coupe added that sales of non-food were increasing at two to three times the rate of food. The growth has been partly driven by the opening of more stores and extending existing supermarkets. Sainsbury's has also recently started selling a range of women's clothes designed by TV fashion stylist Gok Wan, as well as increasing its range of electrical items, such as cameras and televisions.
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