Nairn leads way for Sainsbury’s

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SAINSBURY’s posted a resilient 6.6 per cent jump in half-time earnings yesterday, as the supermarket major singled out its newly opened store in Nairn as turning in a standout performance.

The group unveiled a rise in pre‑tax profits to £354m in the six months to 1 October compared with £332m in the same period last year.

Sainsbury’s total sales rose 7.6 per cent to £12.8bn helped by a continuing strong store‑opening programme, while same‑floorspace sales lifted 1.9 per cent.

Group chief executive Justin King said the company continued to drive into new areas, with the priority being to open outlets more than eight miles from the nearest existing store.

John Rogers, Sainsbury’s chief financial officer, said the new Nairn outlet was now the group’s most northerly store in Britain after opening on 3 August, taking over from Aberdeen.

Rogers said: “The performance [at Nairn] has been exceptional. People are driving much longer distances to get to that store than we were expecting.”

Neil Sachdev, Sainsbury’s property director, said: “Feedback from the Nairn store was phenomenal from day one.”

Sainsbury’s unveiled a 4.7 per cent increase in the interim dividend to 4.5p from 4.3p yesterday. The group revealed that its Sainsbury’s Bank joint venture with Bank of Scotland had boosted total profits to £19m from £17m.