Tuesday 25 July 2017

Sainsbury sales growth slows on easing inflation

Sarah Shannon

UK retailer Sainsbury has reported slower sales growth as food price inflation eased and snowy weather kept shoppers at home.

Sales excluding petrol rose 1.7pc at stores open at least a year in the 11 weeks ended March 20, the company said today. That was less than the prior quarter’s 4.2pc gain.

UK inflation slowed more than expected in February, according to the Office of National Statistics, with food prices rising 1.3pc.

The longest cold snap since 1981 snarled traffic and kept workers home in January, causing UK retail sales to drop twice as much as economists forecast.

The sales growth decline is a result of “the easing back of food price inflation, the impact of the reimposition of VAT and a generally cautious British consumer compounded by the adverse weather conditions,” Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, said in an email before the report.

Sainsbury fell 1.1 pence, or 0.3pc, to 328.1 pence in London trading yesterday. The stock has gained 1.4pc this year, compared with the 1.5pc increase at Tesco.

Sainsbury has introduced non-food ranges such as clothing and rewarded repeat customers with discount coupons to win business from competitors such as Tesco.

Bloomberg

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