Sainsbury Posts First Quarterly Sales Increase In Two Years

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Sainsbury Posts First Quarterly Sales Increase In Two Years

J Sainsbury Plc reported a surprise increase in fourth-quarter sales, as it ponders whether to boost its bid for Argos owner Home Retail Group Plc.

Same-store sales rose 0.1 per cent excluding gasoline in the nine weeks ended 12 March, London-based Sainsbury's said in a statement. The gain ended two years of declining sales and compares with analyst estimates for a 0.3-per-cent decline.

"The market will remain competitive, but we are confident that we will continue to outperform our major peers," chief executive officer Mike Coupe said in the statement.

Sainsbury has proved more resilient than most of its mainstream rivals to intense competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl. The tough market conditions prompted Coupe to pursue a £1.3-billion ($1.9-billion) cash-and-shares acquisition of non-food retailer Argos, and the CEO must this week decide whether to boost his proposal after Steinhoff International Holdings NV topped it with an all-cash offer. Sainsbury's recent statement made no mention of Home Retail.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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