Looking good: Sainsbury’s non-food sales hit £1 billion

Sainsbury’s hailed a “significant milestone” yesterday as non-food sales reached £1 billion a year for the first time.

The group was helped by its best ever Christmas, when general merchandise sales grew by a third compared to the previous year.

Sales from its cookware range have grown at 16 per cent in the last year, and the company shifted 100,000 frying pans in the run up to Pancake Day.

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A collaboration with celebrity stylist Gok Wan, pictured, helped the group’s clothing sales, while small electrical items are another growth area.

Sainsbury’s sold 17,000 tablets over Christmas alone, while customers picked up one TV every minute in December and January.

The chain said the full general merchandise range was only available at one in five stores, and it planned to roll it out to more outlets as well as introducing further products and ranges. It noted that customers who buy from its non-food range spend more overall, and it was therefore an area of “huge potential”.