Sainsbury's sales have fallen again, showing the supermarket giant is yet to shrug off the challenges facing the big four.
Like-for-like sales were down 2.1 per cent for the first quarter of 2015. Food deflation and a competitive market were blamed for the poor sales figures, which were down 2.1 per cent for the 12 weeks to 6 June 2015.
This figure excludes the supermarket's sale of fuel. Including fuel, it increases to 3.7 per cent. In the first quarter of 2015, the supermarket opened its 300th petrol station.
Why it matters:
Although the figures are slightly better than analysts were expecting, it is still the sixth consecutive quarter of falling sales for the supermarket. Last month, Sainsbury's recorded its first full-year loss for 10 years, warning of a "challenging" outlook for the rest of the year.
Along with Morrisons, Sainsbury's is the most shorted stock on the FTSE 100 index.
Such major supermarket chains are experiencing tough competition from discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.
Its share price was down slightly on the open, at 249.9 to 249.1 per share – however, it recovered to 253.3 after the slight dip.
None of this is good news for Mike Coupe, who took on the reins last year after Justin King bowed out after a successful 10 years at the top.
What Coupe said:
Trading conditions are still being impacted by strong levels of food deflation and a highly competitive pricing backdrop. These pressures, including the effect of our own targeted price investment, have led to a fall in like-for-like sales for the quarter.
We outlined in our strategic review in November some of the key actions we would be taking to remain competitive in this environment and are encouraged by some of the early trends that we are seeing in our key trading and operational metrics.
Despite the challenging market conditions, we are confident that we are building on strong foundations and making good progress with our strategy. We continue to invest in our broad range of products and services and our multiple channels to market. These areas represent strong future growth opportunities and contribute towards our resilience in the current trading environment.
Much like the rest of the big four, Sainsbury's is struggling against the perfect storm of a price war, increased competition and food deflation in the supermarket sector.