Argos was the jewel in Sainsbury’s crown during the Christmas period, raising questions as to the health of its core food division.

But at today’s update, Sainsbury’s showed its food business to be in rude health, with grocery sales 3% tastier this quarter than in the same period last year.

What’s more, the UK’s second biggest grocer insisted it has kept a lid on its food prices in the face of rising inflation.

Chief executive Mike Coupe said the business has worked with suppliers during the period to improve its price position, and that many staple items remain cheaper than they were three years ago.

But, where reporters and analysts were chomping at the bit for more detail on Sainsbury’s potential purchase of Nisa, Coupe merely said it’s “important to be alive to possibilities” but that “a lot of the time this sort of speculation comes to nothing”.

Sports Direct

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have seen that Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley has made headlines today, for all the wrong reasons.

Executive editor George MacDonald thunders in his column that “retail’s image problem makes you sick”.

Quote of the day

“Tesco needs to repair the reputational damage from the accounting scandal and will hope this compensation will draw a line under the matter”

– Hargreaves Lansdown commenting on Tesco compensating shareholders for its 2014 accounting scandal 

Today in numbers


John Lewis Partnership’s sales increase to £227.6m in the seven days to July 1


The number of years exiting Hamleys boss Gudjon Reynisson served at its helm

Tomorrow’s agenda

Look out for the latest shop price inflation numbers from the BRC.

Emily Hardy, senior reporter