Britain's second-biggest supermarket group, Sainsbury's kept its financial guidance for this year despite reporting a 8% fall in first-half profit, saying it was well placed for the key Christmas trading period.
The group, which has a 14.7% share of Britain's grocery market, said it still expected 2022-23 underlying pre-tax profit of between £630 million (€726.9 million) and £690 million (€796.1 million), down from the £730 million (€842.2 million) made in 2021-22.
Prior to Thursday's update, analysts were on average forecasting £637 million.
Chief executive of Sainsbury's, Simon Roberts, said in a statement, "We really get how tough it is for millions of households right now. Customers are watching every penny and every pound and we know that they are relying on us to keep food prices as low as we can.
"We will have invested more than £500 million by March 2023 in keeping prices lower by cutting our costs at a faster rate than our competitors, meaning we have more firepower to battle inflation. Over the past year and a half we have consistently passed on less price inflation than our competitors and I am confident we have never been better value."
Amid a worsening cost-of-living crisis, Sainsbury's said trading momentum had remained strong in the first few weeks of its second half and it had continued to make gains in market share volumes.
'We are well placed through the peak trading period and into next financial year to support customers as they manage further cost of living pressures,' the retailer said. 'We are confident in our competitive position in the face of macro challenges and operating cost inflation.'
Sainsbury's reported underlying pre-tax profit of £340 million (€392.3 million) for the 28 weeks to 17 September.
Second-quarter like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, rose 3.7%,having fallen 4.0% in the first quarter.
News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM. For more retail news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.