Sainsbury’s paid its chief executive Justin King almost £8m last year, when the grocer reported its lowest sales growth in five years.

King raked in an extra 60% on his previous pay packet.

Basic pay from March 2009 to March 2010 amounted to £3.35m. He also received a £4.52m gain on share options, according to The Times.

During the period, Sainsbury’s pre-tax profits rose 17.5% to £610m.

Finance director Darren Shapland earned £3m after a 59% increase in his basic pay.

Around 127,000 employees shared the retailer’s biggest bonus pot of £80m in the year. Basic salaries for Sainsbury’s executive directors have been frozen for 2010-2011.

In the 11 weeks to March 20, like-for-like growth slowed to 1.7% compared with 6.2% at the same time last year.