Sainsburys reports prelim annual results

Sainsbury's has given a update on the impact of COVID-19 and Preliminary Results for the 52 weeks to 7 March 2020.

Grocery sales performance improved throughout the course of the year, consistently outperforming peers and driven by investment in low prices, entry price point ranges and new and improved products.

During the period, online grocery sales grew 7.6%, Convenience grew 1.3% and supermarket sales declined 0.1%, impacted particularly by general merchandise sales declines.

Underlying profit before tax was down to £586m, and profit before tax increased by 26% to £255m.

The group's base case scenario envisages a profit impact of £500m in the current financial year from the additional costs of protecting colleagues and customers, and from reduced sales in fuel, GM and clothing, to be offset by approximately £450m business rate relief and stronger grocery sales.

There has been a strong grocery demand since the beginning of March, concentrated over three exceptionally busy weeks, and peaking at 48% sales growth in the week to March 21. Sales are now at more normal levels.

The company has focused on keeping its staff and customers safe, and particularly supporting the elderly and vulnerable who it has prioritised for online slots. the number of delivery slots available weekly has increased by nearly 50% and it has doubled volumes.

CEO Mike Coupe said, “The last few weeks have been an extraordinary time for our business. First and foremost, I want to say thank you to all of our colleagues. They have shown outstanding commitment and resilience over the past few weeks and I am in awe of their adaptability and the efforts they have made to continue to serve our customers.

'Across every part of the business, colleagues have played their part as we have done everything possible to feed the nation and to prioritise those who are least able to access food and other essential services.

'This is an unsettling time for everyone, but I am incredibly proud of the way the business has responded, continually adapting and responding to customer feedback.

'We will continue to work hard to provide food and other essential products to households across the UK and Ireland who are adapting to a new way of living.”

Following Mike Coupe’s retirement, Simon Roberts will become Chief Executive Officer on 1 June.