Sainsbury’s warns that covid-19 disruption could last until September
Sainsbury’s has warned that the covid-19 pandemic could cause disruption for its business until mid-September even if lockdown restrictions are eased by June.
The supermarket also said that its full year profits could take a hit of £500 million due to costs incurred protecting customers and staff, and weaker fuel, general merchandise and clothing sales.
However, Sainsbury’s said its current full year profit is expected to come in broadly at the same level as in the previous year as the costs would be offset by stronger grocery sales and £450 million business rates relief.
Looking at sales during the covid-19 crisis, the supermarket said sales growth increased to a peak of 47% in the weeks leading up to lockdown as people stockpiled groceries. However, sales have returned to some degree of normality in more recent weeks.
While thanking staff for their “commitment and resilience” during the lockdown period, Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said: “The last few weeks have been an extraordinary time for our business. This is an unsettling time for everyone, but I am incredibly proud of the way the business has responded, continually adapting and responding to customer feedback. We will continue to work hard to provide food and other essential products to households across the UK and Ireland who are adapting to a new way of living.”
In its full year results statement, Sainsbury’s also reported a 2% drop in underlying pre-tax profit to £586 million in the year to 7 March after like-for like sales edged down 0.6%. On a statutory basis, pre-tax profit rose to £255 million from £202 million in the previous year.
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