Sainsbury reports fall in sales

Supermarket Sainsbury has reported total sales for the fourth quarter (the 10 weeks to 15 March 2014) down 1.5 per cent (down 1.0 per cent ex fuel), with like-for-like sales for fourth quarter down 3.8 per cent (down 3.1 per cent ex fuel).

Justin King, Chief Executive, said: “We have seen a decline in sales in the quarter reflecting tough comparatives. This time last year our sales benefited significantly from the discovery of horsemeat in some branded and competitors’ products. We are pleased, however, that market data shows we have maintained market share at 17%1.

The market is now growing at its slowest rate since 2005, with falling food inflation in particular benefiting customers. The later timing of Easter and Mother’s Day, which fall in quarter one of our new financial year, and unseasonable weather have also contributed to lower market growth year-on-year.

We continue to see growth in our own-brand ranges, significantly ahead of branded products, with penetration now at 51 per cent, versus 47 per cent for the market. Our own-brand products are, on average, 20 per cent cheaper than a branded equivalent and are also supported by the values that our customers expect of us. We recently lowered the price of our milk, bread and eggs, but continue to pay a fair price to farmers through our Dairy Development Group, and only use British flour in our in-store bakeries and eggs from hens that are free to roam. Customers continue to tell us they recognise the uniqueness and value for money of our own-brand ranges.

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