Profits hit by investment in business
Sainsbury's has announced its business recovery plans are on track after delivering cautiously optimistic end-of-year figures. Sales for the 52 weeks to March 26 grew 5.5 per cent compared with the previous year, to£16.36 billion.

However, profit was severely depleted by the cost of investment in the business turnaround. Profit before tax was£15 million, down from£610 million the year before. The retailer said that business review exceptional costs were£510 million for the year, with a further cost of£50 million expected for this financial year.

Like-for-like sales were down 0.4 per cent for the year. However, like-for-like sales improved by 1.7 per cent in the final quarter.

The retailer said it hoped to grow sales by£2.5 billion over the next three years, while investing up to£400 million in improving the customer offer over the same period.

Chairman Philip Hampton was pleased with the results, but sanguine about the future. He said: 'While it is pleasing to be able to report that our sales performance improved towards the end of the year, these are early days, and there is much to be done to deliver our plans in a tough and competitive UK retail market. By continuing to focus on customer-facing initiatives we are all totally committed to making Sainsbury's great again.'