Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said that the company will continue to invest in online, multichannel and convenience as it looks for future growth.
While the supermarket reported falling first-quarter sales, with total sales excluding fuel down by 0.6 per cent in the 12 weeks to June 6, compared to the same time last year. Like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, were down by 2.1%, again excluding fuel.
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.
He continued, “We continue to make it easier for customers to shop with us whenever and wherever they want. We have now opened 20 grocery Click & Collect sites and remain on track to have 100 sites by the end of 2015. Groceries online had a record week in the quarter with 256,000 orders. We have increased the number of delivery slot options to give customers greater flexibility and we won the quarterly Grocer 33 award for online service and availability, reflecting the improvements in our own customer satisfaction scores”
The company has also opened three Argos digital stores during the quarter in North Cheam, Nantwich and West Hove and will have opened ten by the end of the first half of 2015. . He said, “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.”