// Sainsbury’s posts £261 million statutory pre-tax loss for the year
// Grocery sales for the year to March 6 rose 7.8% but overall revenues remained fairly flat
Sainsbury’s has swung to a full year loss as costs pertaining to Covid-19 and business strategic changes piled up, although its online and grocery sales enjoyed huge increases.
For the fiscal year ending March 6, the Big 4 grocer booked statutory loss before tax of £261 million – compared to profits of £255 million the year prior.
The retailer attributed the loss to one-off costs and impairments associated with one-off restructuring announced last November.
On an underlying basis, Sainsbury’s profit before tax plunged 39 per cent year-on-year to £356 million, with benefits from strong sales growth more than offset by £485 million of direct Covid-19 costs – covering staff absences as well as measures to make stores safe for customers.
Sainsbury’s said its overall full year revenue remained fairly flat: on a statutory basis it increased marginally by 0.2 per cent to £28.99 billion while on an underlying basis it dipped 0.3 per cent to £33.39 billion.
Meanwhile, like-for-like sales soared 8.1 per cent, but when factoring in fuel sales it only went up by 0.7 per cent.
Sales in Sainsbury’s core grocery division increased 7.8 per cent, while its general merchandise division – which includes the Argos and Habitat fascias – grew 8.3 per cent, and clothing sales from its Tu brand declined 8.5 per cent year-on-year.
The Big 4 grocer also saw a big shift online, with digital sales skyrocketing by 102 per cent to £12.1 billion.
Online orders now represent 17 per cent of Sainsbury’s grocery sales, compared to eight per cent the year before.
“This year’s financial results have been heavily influenced by the pandemic,” Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts said.
“Food and Argos sales are significantly higher, but the cost of keeping colleagues and customers safe during the pandemic has been high.
“Like our customers, we are all looking forward to things feeling more normal over the coming months and getting excited about a summer of celebration, but we are also cautious about the economic outlook.”