Sainsbury’s reveals lower-than-expected Q4 sales

Sainsbury’s has blamed a “tough” trading environment for its lower-than-expected fourth quarter sales.

Like-for-like sales crept up by 1% in the 10 weeks to 19 March at Sainsbury’s – lower than a widely expected +3% figure by the City. Like-for-like sales in the full year to 19 March, excluding fuel, were up 2.3%.

Justin King, chief executive at Sainsbury’s, said it had attracted a record 21 million customers to its stores each week, up 1 million on last year.

But he added: ‘We expect the consumer environment to remain tough, with our customers facing fuel price inflation, uncertain employment prospects and government spending cuts.”

In the trading update, King noted that Sainsbury’s non-food sales had grown at over three times the rate of food, and that its groceries online business had continued to grow at over 20% year-on-year.

During the fourth quarter, the firm opened three new supermarkets, including two replacement stores, one store extension and 21 convenience stores.

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