Sainsbury’s has sales boom to outpace rivals

Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in Sainsbury’s rose three per cent yesterday, making it the biggest riser in the FTSE 100, after the supermarket chain posted a surge in half-year sales and profits.

Sainsbury’s is the only one of the big four supermarkets to be growing its market share, with data from Nielsen last month confirming that it had overtaken Asda to reclaim its title as the UK’s second biggest grocer for the first time in a decade.

Pre-tax profits jumped 9.1 per cent in the six months to 28 September to £433m, boosted by a 4.4 per cent rise in total sales to £13.95bn.

Sales at stores open more than a year, excluding fuel, were up 1.4 per cent.

The company, under the leadership of Justin King, has been outperforming its rivals with a strategy focused on growing its own-brand products, investing in fast-growing online and local convenience store channels.

Online grocery sales rose by 15 percent in the half, while convenience store sales increased over 20 per cent.

King warned that despite strong sales and the recent signs of economic recovery, the consumer environment was still challenging.

“Whilst every piece of news is good news...the reality for consumers is that they are not seeing more money in their pocket.”

The group also booked a £92m impairment charge after reviewing its property pipeline and identifying 15 to 20 edge of town sites that it no longer thinks are economically viable.

Tesco wrote down its property investments by £804m earlier this year after deciding to build fewer big stores.