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Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
Sainsbury recovers sales and profits
Sainsbury's store
Sainsbury's says it will meet its growth promises
The supermarket group, Sainsbury, says its recovery plan is working.

After two years of falling profits, the company is seeing a change in its fortunes.

In the 12 months to March, pre-tax profits, before one-off items were up 14% at 627m.

The supermarket sector in the UK also saw a 10% growth in profits after three years of decline.

Catching up

The chief executive Sir Peter Davis, who was brought in to turn the company around, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Things are getting better.


Things are getting better, our service in the stores is getting better, the range is getting better, as a result our profits are improving

Sir Peter Davis
Sainsbury
"Our service in the stores is getting better, the range is getting better, and as a result our profits are improving."

But Sir Peter said that although Sainsbury was trying to close the gap with Tesco, it was not aiming to knock its bigger rival off the number one spot.

"They have got considerably more stores and more square footage so I think it's highly unlikely that we'll catch them up in those terms," he said.

Better shape

Sales at Sainsbury stores open for at least a year rose by 6.3% for the 12 months to the end of March, excluding petrol sales.
Sir Peter Davis, Sainsbury's chief executive
Sir Peter is trying deliver value to customers

But the company said that sales growth had slowed in the past couple of months, because of the rapid progress it made this time last year when the recovery programme began to take effect.

However, Sainsbury's said it was on track to meet its financial targets for the year.

"The business is in better shape than it has been for some years," chairman Sir George Bull said.

Striking a balance

Sainsbury, like its rivals Tesco and Asda, is also concentrating on areas outside food.

The company said it was developing its clothes, home and beauty ranges.

Sir Peter said Sainsbury was doing its best to dispel the image of the bullying big supermarket.

"We are spending a lot of time trying to get the balance right between building a relationship with suppliers and delivering value to our customers and value to our shareholders," he said.

See also:

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