Sainsbury’s LFLs down 1.9% in ‘challenging’ market

Sainsbury’s said the market was set to “remain challenging for the foreseeable future” as it announced a drop in sales for its fourth quarter.

The supermarket’s fourth-quarter results for the 10 weeks to 10 March 2015 showed like-for-like (LFL) sales down 1.9% while total retail sales were down 0.3%.

Sainsbury’s said a fall in food deflation had influenced its sales.

Mike Coupe, chief executive, 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 more than 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.”

Analysts said Sainbury’s fourth-quarter performance was better than expected and, despite falling LFLs, its volume sales were increasing.

Going forward, Coupe said he believed the market would remain challenging, and food deflation, as well as competitive price pressures, would 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,” he concluded.

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