Sainsbury’s has reported underlying pre-tax profit up 9% to £665m in its full year, saying it “outperformed the market in a challenging environment”.
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For the year to March 19, total sales including VAT but excluding petrol were up 4.9%, and like-for-likes were up 2.3%.
Sainsbury’s said its like-for-like growth was below its medium-term planning assumption of between 3% and 4%, but “ahead of the market”.
Sainsbury’s said customer transactions are at an all-time high of 21 million per week, and it is growing market share.
It said its campaigns such as Value where it matters offering savings on leading brands, and 1,000 products for £1 or less helped customers manage their weekly spend.
Chief executive Justin King said: “Sainsbury’s has continued to perform well. Customer numbers are at an all-time high of 21 million transactions every week, which is up one million on last year, a clear indication of our growing universal customer appeal across all channels.
“We have added gross space of 1.5 million sq ft to our store estate, creating over 6,000 new jobs with Sainsbury’s. Strong sales growth, combined with productivity savings and tight control on operating costs, have helped to deliver good profit growth. Our colleagues continue to deliver great service, exceeding our stretching customer service targets, and we are delighted to be paying our colleagues a bonus of around £60 million.”
“We expect the economic environment to remain uncertain over the coming year. We remain confident that our strategy, alongside continued strong operational performance, will enable the business to make further good progress.”
Sainsbury’s now has self-scan checkouts in nearly 700 stores, and they account for over 40% of transactions in those stores.
It said non-food continues to grow at more than three times the rate of food. Earlier this week it revealed two new heads of clothing and general merchandise.They followed the announcement that Darren Shapland, group development director, is to stand down from the company in the summer.
Its clothing brand Tu is now the seventh largest in the UK by volume and in womenswear it is expanding more into accessories and lingerie. Kidswear is seventh largest by volume, with sales having grown by over 20% year on year. Menswear has grown by over 18% on last year.
It said some general merchandise categories saw growth of over 20% in some areas including books and home textiles.
Sainsbury’s said online groceries reported sales up 20% and weekly orders now regularly over 130,000.