Sainsbury's records slowest growth in decade as discounter pressure bites

Sainsbury's has recorded its slowest growth for almost a decade, as annual profits grew by 5.3% to £798m in the face of fierce competition from discounters.

Sainsbury's records slowest growth in decade as discounter pressure bites
Sainsbury's records slowest growth in decade as discounter pressure bites

The supermarket chain has nevertheless shown more resilience than its major rivals, including Tesco, and outgoing chief executive Justin King argued that "customers have actually stayed true to their values – price is not the full story".

Sainsbury’s like-for-like sales for the 52 weeks to 15 March recorded a slight increase of 0.2%, while total sales increased 2.8% to £26.4bn.

King said: "In a competitive retail environment we have focused on delivering high-quality, affordable own-brand products across all our channels, helping customers to 'Live Well for Less'.

"We remain confident that our differentiated offer, supported by the 'value of values', Nectar data and Brand Match, will allow us to outperform our peers in the year ahead."

Sainsbury’s claims its own-brand range is growing at more than twice the rate of branded goods in both sales and volume.

Premium own-brand range Taste the Difference has shown double-digit growth and recorded more than £1.1bn billion in annual sales.

Sainsbury’s relaunched its Tu clothing brand this year with "the single biggest" investment in its clothing business since 2004, helping Tu generate annual sales of approximately £750 million.

King is due to leave Sainsbury’s at the AGM in July and will hand over control to commercial director Mike Coupe.

David Tyler, chairman at Sainsbury’s, said: "Under his leadership, customer transactions have increased by ten million a week to around 24 million, annual sales have grown by £10.3 billion to £26.4 billion, and underlying profit before tax has trebled to £798 million.

"He has been a truly exceptional leader and, on behalf of all our colleagues, I thank him for his outstanding achievements."

King told the Radio 4 Today programme this morning he still did not know where he would end up after Sainsbury’s. 

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