Sainsbury’s quarterly sales drop 4% as cost-of-living intensifies

Big 4 grocer Sainsbury’s has reported a drop in sales in its first quarter as CFO Kevin O’Byrne is to depart from the business.

The supermarket giant revealed that like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, dropped by 4% over the 16 weeks to 25 June, compared with the same period last year.

The Big 4 grocer also hailed a “good” performance in its grocery business, which saw sales dip 2.4%, compared to the same period as last year.

This comes as the grocer revealed it is investing £500 million over the two years to March 2023 in keeping its prices low.

Online grocery sales were also up by 94% above pre-pandemic levels.

Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the Difference’ range saw sales up over 12% year-on-year over the Jubilee week with customers choosing to celebrate with traditional British summer products.

Sales of beer, wines and spirits during the Jubilee week were the highest ever outside of Christmas and Easter, with Pimms, sparkling wine and champagne selling particularly well, the grocer revealed.

However, the grocer said trading was “in line” with expectations as its underlying pre-tax profit guidance remained unchanged, being reported at between £630 million and £690 million.

This follows warnings from the CEO of Sainsbury’s, Simon Roberts, has saying that pressure on household budgets “will only intensify over the remainder of the year” as the Big 4 grocer pledges to invest more money to improve value for customers.

As a result, Roberts revealed it is working to reduce costs across Sainsbury’s operations amid the cost-of-living crisis and the rise of inflation.

Roberts said: “We really understand how hard it is for millions of households right now and that’s why we are investing £500 million and doing everything we can to keep our prices low, especially on the products customers purchase most often.

READ MORE: Sainsbury’s under shareholder pressure to pay Living Wage

“The pressure on household budgets will only intensify over the remainder of the year and I am very clear that doing the right thing for our customers and colleagues will remain at the very top of our agenda.”

Roberts added: “We’re working hard to reduce costs right across the business so that we can keep investing in these areas that customers care most about.

“The progress we are making on improving value, quality, innovation and service is reflected in our improved grocery volume market share.”

In its trading report, the grocer added it is promoting its commercial and retail finance director Bláthnaid Bergin, to succeed CFO O’Byrne, who has decided to retire in March next year, after six years at the helm.

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