British supermarket giant Sainsbury’s revealed a bigger-than-expected slowdown in sales growth today as it highlighted the squeeze on consumer spending.
The UK’s third biggest supermarket chain said it had seen “customers manage their spending carefully” with same-store sales growth of 1%, including VAT but excluding fuel, in the 10 weeks to March 19.
This compared with market expectations for a figure in the region of 2% and against growth of 3.6% in the previous quarter.
But chief executive Justin King said the chain still outperformed the market in the fourth quarter of its financial year after attracting 21 million customers a week – up one million on last year.
Sainsbury’s surpassed its “big four” rivals in Christmas trading, but competition pressures have intensified in recent months as Tesco and Asda have launched price-cutting initiatives.