Profits hit in supermarket price wars

SAINSBURY’S is this week ­expected to post its first fall in annual profits for a decade as it suffers amid the ongoing ­supermarket price wars.

Sales have fallen and profits have come under pressure at Sainsburys which unveils its annual results on Wednesday. Picture: Getty

The City predicts that the UK’s third-biggest grocery chain, which has 597 supermarkets and 707 convenience stores, will post a 17 per cent decline in pre-tax profits to £659 million as sales fall and margins come under pressure.

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Brewin Dolphin analyst ­Nicla Di Palma said: “As with Tesco, management is likely to announce that 2015-16 will not bring any improvement in profitability, although we do not expect a detailed outlook.”

Sainsbury’s, headed by chief executive Mike Coupe, recently reported a 1.9 per cent fall in like-for-like sales for the ten weeks to 14 March, compared with a 1.7 per cent fall the previous quarter.

Coupe has been caught up in a bizarre legal drama in Egypt that saw him sentenced in his absence to two years in jail for a “historic commercial dispute”­ dating back 14 years, before he worked for the firm.