Sainsbury's like-for-like sales down 1.1% in King's last quarter
Sainsburys has reported a second consecutive quarterly sales decline after previously enjoying nine years of unbroken growth.
In the 12 weeks to 7 June 2014, like-for-like retail sales edged down 1.1% excluding fuel compared to a year earlier. Total retail sales excluding fuel rose by 1%.
Chief executive Justin King, who is stepping down next month after ten years, said Sainsbury’s was continuing to invest in reducing prices, improving quality, and increasing the value of its offer.
He added: “Lower food price inflation and reduced fuel prices are a welcome respite to customers' finances but they continue to spend cautiously, leading to industry growth in the quarter being the slowest in a decade.”
Last month Sainsbury’s reported a 16.3% rise in its annual pre-tax profits although it warned that conditions in the food retail sector were likely to remain "challenging" as it faces increasing competition from discounters.
Sainsbury’s said its general merchandise and clothing business continued to perform well in the quarter helped by double-digit sales growth in clothing.
Online grocery sales grew by over 10% following the roll-out of new web and mobile platforms.
Convenience sales increased by over 18% and during the quarter the retailer launched its 200th convenience store in London. Sainsbury’s opened 27 new convenience stores and refurbished a further 12 outlets in the period as part of plans to deliver around two new convenience stores per week and 750,000 square feet of new space this year.
King added: “We expect customer spending to remain cautious and we will continue to invest to keep our offer competitive to help customers balance their household budget. We remain confident that our clear strategy and differentiated offer will allow us to continue to outperform our supermarket peers through the remainder of the year."
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