The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)

Sales dip at under-pressure Sainsbury’s

- Holly Williams

Sainsbury’s suffered a fall in sales as it stayed under pressure in the supermarke­t price war.

Britain’s second biggest supermarke­t reported a 0.8% drop in like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, for the 12 weeks to June 4.

The fall marks a setback after a return to quarterly like-for-like growth for the first time in more than two years the previous three months, when sales edged 0.1% higher.

Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “Market conditions remain challengin­g.

“Food price deflation continues to impact our sales and pressures on pricing mean the market will remain competitiv­e for the foreseeabl­e future.”

Sainsbury’s recently began scrapping multi-buy promotions and has ditched its brand-match guarantee in favour of overall lower prices.

The group’s £1.4 billion takeover of Argos owner Home Retail Group faces scrutiny from the competitio­n watchdog.

The Competitio­n and Markets Authority said last month it was looking into whether the tie-up with Argos owner Home Retail could result in a “substantia­l lessening of competitio­n”.

It will consider comments on the deal and decide whether to launch an inquiry by July 25.

Meanwhile, like-for-like sales at WH Smith for the 14 weeks to June 4 were flat, but it is confident for the full year.

Total group sales were up 2%, like-for-likes were flat but travel business sales grew 9% for the retailer which hailed further progress in managing its space.

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