Updates from Sainsbury's and Persimmon


The FTSE 100 climbed +0.37%, or 24.72 points on Tuesday, ending at 6,755.4. British Airways owner IAG saw the biggest jump, up +3.43% to 428.2; Lloyds also climbed strongly, up 3% to 82.51p. Fresnillo saw the biggest index lurch, down -4.08% to 705.50p.

Stateside, the Dow Jones climbed 105.8 points, finishing at 16,530.9.

After a lacuna of New Year corporate news, some big guns return. We begin with grocer Sainsbury's. In the 14 weeks to 4 January, like-for-like sales climbed 0.2%, excluding fuel. That means Sainsbury's claims its 36th quarter of like-for-like - which strips out new store openings - sales growth.

The 23rd December was the store's busiest day with customers spending nearly £17 million. In terms of own brand, Taste the Difference grew strongly at more than 10%. Sainsbury's claims it's now the UK's sixth largest retailer of homeware by value.

"Our convenience business," says boss Justin King, "is growing at nearly 18% and this year on Christmas Eve we had our biggest ever sales day at nearly £7 million. This underscores how customers choose convenience stores to top-up their main supermarket shop."

Next, a trading update from house builder Persimmon, though full numbers won't be released till 25 February. The volume of new house sales climbed to 11,528 for the year, 16% up. The average selling price for 2013 legal completions was £180,900, an increase of 4% on 2012 (£173,823).

This increase is due to a change in mix of sales in traditional family housing across the UK, year on year. Full year revenues of £2.1bn represents an increase of 21%, claims Persimmon. It also acquired 17,600 plots of new land during 2013.

"Of the 17,600 plots acquired in 2013, over 5,500 plots were converted from our strategic land bank," says Persimmon. "The superior returns from these strategic land parcels will support Group profitability and cashflows as they are developed over future years."

We end with new numbers from Domino's Pizza. UK sales for the 13 weeks to 29 December were up 15.6% to £170.4m (2012: £147.4m). Like-for-like sales from 670 UK mature stores were up by 10.9% (2012: 4.5%) driven by increased digital marketing activity and more favourable timing of the Christmas break.

Sales in the Republic of Ireland were up 7.6% to €13.5m (2012: €12.5m) and were up 6.0% for the year to €49.6m (2012: €46.8m). The German market generated sales of €2.9m (2012: €1.4m) and like-for-like sales growth of 4.6% (2012: 21.7%).

Chief exec Lance Batchelor described the period as an "outstanding last quarter of like-for-like sales growth in our core UK market and robust like-for-like sales growth in the Republic of Ireland stores, where positive like-for-like sales were recorded in every quarter this year after four years of decline."