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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 06:52 GMT 07:52 UK
Sainsbury's boosted by sales rise
Shopper outside Sainsbury's
Sainsbury's cut prices on 1,000 goods during the 12-week period
Latest sales figures from takeover target Sainsbury's have shown the supermarket's recovery is continuing.

Like-for-like sales excluding fuel, which strip out the effect of new stores, grew 5.9% in the 12 weeks to 24 March. Sales including fuel rose 4.9%.

The firm is now in the final year of a three-year recovery plan, which has seen many of its stores refurbished.

Last month, a consortium of private equity firms said it was considering making a bid for Sainsbury's.

The consortium - which includes CVC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Blackstone and Texas Pacific - has been given a deadline of 13 April by the UK Takeover Panel to make a firm offer or withdraw its plans.

Analysts estimate a deal for the UK's third-largest supermarket could be worth as much as 10bn.

Sainsbury's has so far refused to comment on takeover speculation and analysts widely expect the company's board to resist any offer.


In its trading update, the group said store extensions, refurbishments and new stores had performed well during the three months.

Meanwhile, a 50% growth in sales of Fair Trade products as well as a focus on healthier eating after Christmas had helped to boost sales, as had price cuts on more than 1,000 goods.

"'We have now completed the second year of our Making Sainsbury's Great Again recovery plan and have delivered strong sales growth in our fourth quarter, the ninth consecutive quarter of growth," chief executive Justin King said.

He also said the group's turnaround plan was "delivering substantial value" for shareholders, adding he was confident the group could build on its recovery.

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