Retail: Sainsbury’s confirms second consecutive fall in quarterly like-for-like sales
A tough spring for Britain’s supermarket giants was underlined today as Sainsbury’s posted lower underlying sales for the second quarter in a row.
Chief executive Justin King, who is leaving the chain next month after 10 years in charge, said consumers continued to spend cautiously, leading to the slowest industry growth in a decade.
Like-for-like sales at the UK’s third biggest supermarket chain were 1.1% lower when excluding fuel in the 12 weeks to June 7, although the total sales figure, which includes changes in store space, was 1% higher than a year earlier.
In the previous three months Sainsbury’s saw like-for-like sales drop 3.1%, its first quarterly decline in nine years, reducing growth for its financial year as a whole to just 0.2%.
All four major supermarket retailers have found themselves squeezed by the rapid growth of German discount chains Aldi and Lidl, with Morrisons and Tesco particularly affected.
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Mr King said Sainsbury’s continued to invest in reducing prices, adding that he is confident the strategy will enable the chain to outperform its peers.
He said: “We expect customer spending to remain cautious and we will continue to invest to keep our offer competitive to help customers balance their household budget.”
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Sainsbury’s said its clothing business achieved double-digit like-for-like sales growth in the quarter, including its best ever sales week in womenswear.
It added that lingerie sales improved 18% on a year earlier, while childrenswear was 15.8% higher.
Shares in the supermarket rose 2% in early trading amid relief that the overall decline in sales was in line with City expectations.