Sainsbury’s remains upbeat despite sales decline

Supermarket group Sainsbury’s today said its nine-year run of quarterly sales growth has come to an end amid tough competition from discount rivals.

As well as facing pressure from the likes of Aldi and Lidl, Sainsbury’s said its sales struggled because of the later arrival of Easter and Mothers’ Day compared with last year.

Like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, fell 3.1 per cent in the ten weeks to 15 March, the group’s financial fourth quarter.

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Sainsbury’s, which is battling Asda for second place behind market leader Tesco, had enjoyed an unbroken run of growth in the previous 36 quarters.

Chief executive Justin King said: “Although some economic indicators are showing an improvement in the health of the economy, we expect the outlook for customers to continue to be challenging for the coming year.

“We remain confident that our differentiated offer, supported by ‘value for values’, Nectar data and Brand Match, will allow us to outperform our peers in the year ahead.”