Sainsbury’s has reported a second consecutive quarter of falling sales as it faces increasing competition from discount rivals.
It said like-for-like sales, which strip out trading at new stores, excluding fuel, in the 12 weeks to 7th June were 1.1% lower compared with a year earlier. In March, Sainsbury’s reported its first fall in sales for nine years.
Chief executive Justin King is stepping down in July after 10 years. He will be succeeded by Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s group commercial director.
Mr King said the supermarket had continued to invest in reducing prices and improving quality in a “challenging market”. He said: “Lower food price inflation and reduced fuel prices are a welcome respite to customers’ finances, but they continue to spend cautiously, leading to industry growth in the quarter being the slowest in a decade.”
Total sales for the quarter, excluding fuel, rose by 1%, and Sainsbury’s added it was confident it would outperform its rivals this year. The supermarket’s share price rose 2% to 337p in early trade on the London Stock Exchange.
In May, Sainsbury’s reported a 16.3% rise in annual pre-tax profits to £898m, but also warned of “challenging” times ahead. The big four supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – are being squeezed by low-cost rivals such as Aldi and Lidl, as well as upmarket chains such as Waitrose.
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