Sales down in Sainsbury’s Q4 results

Total and like-for-like sales were down in Sainsbury’s fourth-quarter results for the 10 weeks to 15 March 2014, as the grocery retail market remained tough.

Total sales were down 1% (excluding fuel) for the period, with like-for-like sales down 3.1% (excluding fuel).

Justin King, chief executive, said for the comparable period in 2013 the retailer had “benefited significantly” from the discovery of horsemeat in some branded and competitors’ products.

“We have seen a decline in sales in the quarter, reflecting tough comparatives,” said King. “We are pleased, however, that market data shows we have maintained market share at 17%.

“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.”

King said Sainsbury’s continued to see growth in its own-brand ranges, significantly ahead of branded products, while growth in its convenience business stood at more than 15%, with 22 new convenience stores opened during the quarter.

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