// Sainsbury’s first quarter sales fell 4.5%, excluding fuel, which it said was in line with expectations
// CFO Kevin O’Byrne is to retire and will be replaced by commercial and retail finance director Bláthnaid Bergin
Sainsbury’s sales fell in its first quarter as CFO Kevin O’Byrne is to retire from the grocer.
The grocer’s sales dropped 4.5%, excluding fuel in the quarter to June 25, with general merchandise sales plunging 11.2%.
Sainsbury’s said trading was in line with expectations and its underlying pre-tax profit guidance remained unchanged at between £630 million and £690 million.
The grocer revealed it is promoting commercial and retail finance director Bláthnaid Bergin, to succeed CFO O’Byrne, who has decided to retire in March next year. He has held the CFO role for six years.
Sainsbury’s grocery sales fell 2.4% year on year, although it was pitched against sales that were elevated during Covid. Sales were 8.7% ahead of pre-pandemic levels.
Argos sales plunged 10.5%, while Sainsbury’s general merchandise plummeted 14.6% and clothing was down 10.1%.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts warned that the cost-of-living squeeze was set to worsen throughout the year.
He said: “The pressure on household budgets will only intensify over the remainder of the year and I am very clear that doing the right thing for our customers and colleagues will remain at the very top of our agenda.”
Roberts said Sainsbury’s was doing all it can to keep prices low.
“We really understand how hard it is for millions of households right now and that’s why we are investing £500 million and doing everything we can to keep our prices low, especially on the products customers buy most often,” he said.
“We’re working hard to reduce costs right across the business so that we can keep investing in these areas that customers care most about. The progress we are making on improving value, quality, innovation and service is reflected in our improved grocery volume market share.
“Our customers are watching every penny and every pound but they also look to Sainsbury’s when they want to treat themselves, particularly at special occasions. We are really connected to our customers and through strong delivery of our plan, we have outperformed the market at key events such as the Jubilee.”