Sainsbury's hails 'good sales and profits'

Justin King, Chief Executive, Sainsbury's: "Non-foods is part of our success story"

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Supermarket group Sainsbury's has reported an increase in sales and market share but a small dip in profits in what it described as a "good year".

Pre-tax profit for the year to 17 March fell to £799m, down from the £827m the company made a year earlier, due in part to increased pension costs and lower profits on property sales.

However, underlying profit rose by 7% to £712m, slightly higher than analysts had expected.

Total sales were up 6.8% to £24.5bn.

The company said market share had hit 16.6%, its highest in almost a decade.

Sales were boosted by strong growth in the chain's own-labelled products, particularly its basics and Taste the Difference ranges.

Non-food products and banking also generated good returns.

As a result, Sainsbury's said it would increase its dividend from 15.1 pence to 16.1p.

'Bucking trend'

"[We have] continued to deliver good sales and profit performance, and to increase [our] share of the market," the company said.

Chief executive Justin King said he was confident the business would make further progress this year.

He told the BBC he believed Sainsbury's was "bucking the trend of many other retailers".

He also rejected claims that the supermarket put undue pressure on its own-brand suppliers.

Sainsbury's shares opened up more than 3% following the results announcement, before slipping back slightly in late morning trading.

"Sainsbury's is delivering firstly because it is doing the basics well, but secondly because its main competitor in the race is limping," said Phil Dorrell at Retail Remedy.

"This simple approach to running a supermarket is something that Tesco could learn from. Sainsbury's is first and foremost a British supermarket, not a global megalomaniac."

Sainsbury's is the UK's third largest supermarket, behind Tesco and Asda.

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