Sainsbury’s boss says food inflation “is starting to fall”

Sainsbury’s boss says food inflation “is starting to fall”

In its trading statement for the first quarter of the year, J Sainsbury plc chief executive Simon Roberts said that food inflation is falling and that the company is “fully committed” to passing on savings to its customers.

Sainsbury’s reports lower prices as popular products are driving return to volume growth.

Commenting on the latest statement, Roberts said: “We are putting all of our energy and focus into battling inflation so that customers get the very best prices when they shop with us, particularly now as household budgets are under more pressure than ever.

“Food inflation is starting to fall and we are fully committed to passing on savings to our customers. Since March, we have invested over £60 million in lowering prices, leading on price cuts across more than 120 essentials like bread, butter, milk, pasta, chicken and toilet roll.”

Roberts continued: “Prices on our top 100 selling products are now lower than they were in March, against a market where prices have gone up. Customers have also saved over £90 million since we launched Nectar Prices in April. In addition, we’re offering great value through Stamford Street, our entry price range and through our biggest ever Aldi Price Match campaign. All of this is underpinned by the continued delivery of our cost saving programmes.

“Customers can see that prices at Sainsbury’s have improved and this combination of great value and some good weather in recent weeks means we have grown our food volumes and market share. Customers are choosing us when they want to celebrate and we grew ahead of the market over Easter, the Coronation and the bank holidays.”

The highlights of the statement were:

  • Excluding fuel, like-for-like sales were up 9.8%, while total retail sales were up 9.2%
  • Grocery sales were up by 11%
  • Outlook has remained unchanged – Sainsbury’s continues to expect underlying profit before tax of between £640 million and £700 million and to generate at least £500 million of Retail free cash flow in the 2023-2024 finance year.

Sainsbury’s launched over 300 new products during the quarter, tripling Summer innovation over the last two years. Around 130 Taste the Difference products were included in the launch.

According to the retailer, its Taste the Difference Signature Burger and Slow Cooked British Pork Ribs proved to be products that customers returned to. A sales growth of 12% in Taste the Difference fresh products contributed to market outperformance of at least 3% across each of the key seasonal moments during the quarter.

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