Sainsbury's warns that market remains challenging amid Q4 sales fall
Sainsburys saw its like-for-like retail sales fall by 1.9% in its fourth quarter as the supermarket faced challenging trading conditions and lowered the prices of over 1,100 items to be competitive.
In the ten weeks to 14 March, total retail sales excluding fuel edged down 0.3%.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said: "The trading environment remains challenging and the decisions we have taken to improve our competitiveness are reflected in our quarterly performance.
“Since we announced our Strategic Review in November we have lowered the regular prices of over 1,100 products, ensuring our price position relative to our major competitors has never been stronger.
“In addition, we have absorbed record levels of food deflation in categories where we trade most strongly - produce, dairy, fresh ready meals, meat, fish and poultry - allowing customers to continue to Live Well for Less at Sainsbury's.”
The supermarket said it had seen volume growth across the food business and an average uplift of over 3% on the 1,100 products where prices were reduced.
Coupe added: “As we have reduced prices and simplified our promotional offer, we have seen like-for-like transactions grow in the quarter as new customers are discovering the great value we represent.”
Sainsbury’s said its general merchandise and clothing businesses performed strongly in the quarter with sales rising by more than 6% on last year.
In addition, the convenience business grew its sales by 14% as the supermarket opened 23 convenience stores.
Meanwhile, the online groceries business saw order numbers increase by 14% with a record week of 245,000 orders.
Coupe said: “We expect the market to remain challenging for the foreseeable future. Food deflation is likely to persist for the rest of this calendar year, and competitive pressures on price will continue. However, we believe that the great value and quality of our products, combined with a strong focus on developing our multi-channel offer, will enable us to outperform our supermarket peers."
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