Sainsbury's claims supply problems are in the past

Sainsbury's supply chain boss has promised that availability will not be an issue in future.

Sainsbury's said last week that it was still suffering from availability issues in store. However, supply chain development director Andy Banks said the issue was increasingly a problem of public perception, and stores now boast a 97 per cent availability rate.

Speaking at last week's Retail Forum on the Oriana, Banks said: 'I can assure you that it (the issue of availability) will not appear on any future results announcement.'

Banks said that Sainsbury's has made significant improvements to its supply chain in the two years since his arrival.

Like-for-like sales in the second quarter dipped by 0.2 per cent, compared with a 6.3 per cent rise at Tesco and 9 per cent uplift at Morrisons.

'The goods are there, there just aren't enough of them,' said chief executive Sir Peter Davis. He said the priority had been to rebuild the infrastructure rather than drive sales, which should start to increase next year.

However, he said sales will remain flat until April, shortly after he is due to be promoted to chairman. Sir Peter received renewed backing from the founding family last weekend, despite poor second-quarter sales.

Sainsbury's has been going through a£3 billion transformation programme to provide a basis for the growth, and has introduced a series of regional 'mega-depots' to support the growth plans.