Another good showing from Sainsbury's

J Sainsbury continues to snap at Asda's heels for the No 2 slot in the UK supermarket sales rankings.

Britain's No 3 has delivered a rise of 5.7% in sales for its last quarter to 17 June, fuelled by the World Cup spending spree allied with hot weather purchases of barbecue products. This is the sixth consecutive quarter that Sainsbury's has delivered robust sales growth. This latest performance may have even outclassed Tesco, which showed growth of 4.3% (results were marginally earlier and excluded the World Cup), and is more than double the overall market growth rate of 2%.

Sainsbury is on course to overtake Asda for the No. 2 slot by the autumn - a possibility boosted by a threatened strike by Asda warehouse workers. A majority of GMB union members, representing 40% of Asda warehouse workers, have voted to strike over pay. Market pundits reckon Sainsbury's is still winning back customers from Asda and Wm Morrison.

Bid rumours shore up nervy UK stockmarket

The stockmarket is recovering some of its nerve as continuing bids and bid rumours inject some interest into a torpid summer scenario in which dealers worry more about potential increases in US and UK interest rates in response to rising inflation on both sides of the Atlantic. Speculation is mounting that Icelandic investor Baugur could make a bid for Wm Morrison.

Great week for Cranswick sausages

Posh sausage maker Cranswick, which supplies gourmet sausages to Sainsbury's 'Taste the Difference' range , has seen an explosion in demand . This fed through to Cranswick recording the biggest sausage manufacturing week in its history as a result of the World Cup, along with hot summer weather enabled supermarkets throughout the UK sell millions of bangers for barbecues, Cranswick's share price rose 22p on the news.

'Come and get it fast' at Chinese McDonald's

McDonald's, the world's biggest burger chain, has clinched a potentially massive deal with Sinopec, the Chinese oil giant, to create thousands of drive-through 'De Lai Su' restaurants in China, which has the world's biggest population. 'De Lai Su' means 'come and get it fast'. The deal has considerable synergy benefits. China has a rising number of urban, middle-class car owners, while Sinopec has 30,000 petrol stations and is adding to them at the rate of 500 a year. McDonald's reckons Sinopec's locations are the best places to open new branches in China. The fast food giant already has 750 restaurants in China and is keen to open over 100 new restaurants each year until the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

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