Sainsbury’s in profit rise as expansion pays off

SAINSBURY’S chief executive Justin King yesterday said record numbers of shoppers were flocking to the supermarket chain which is massively expanding its floorspace – helping it to deliver an eight per cent rise in underlying profit.

The £332m profit for the six months to 2 October was also attributed to a rise in sales in its luxury Taste the Difference ranges as cash-strapped Brits shunned eating out in favour of a night in front of the TV watching the likes of the X Factor.

King revealed that the company – which opened its biggest store ever earlier this year – was planning to create 1.5m square feet of new space next year, up from the previous target of 1.25m square feet. He said: “We’re in a good position to continue to perform well, notwithstanding the tough environment. Customer numbers are now at an all-time high of over 20m transactions every week, which is a million more than last year and an indication of our growing universal appeal.” Like-for-like sales rose by two per cent to a total of £11.2bn.

King added: “People are watching the X Factor and other TV shows ... but they’re eating well while they’re doing it.”