Sainsbury's boss calls for NI cut to reduce jobless and help recovery

 

The chief executive of Sainsbury's has urged the Chancellor to reduce the burden of national insurance to help boost job creation and the economic recovery.

Justin King, who took the helm in March 2004, also said he had no plans to step down in the next 12 months from Sainsbury's, as he unveiled a rise in half-year sales and profits ahead of its listed rivals, Morrisons and Tesco.

Ahead of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement next month, Mr King called national insurance a "tax on jobs".

He said: "Nothing does more for the health of the economy than having more people in jobs – it builds confidence, reduces the burden of unemployment on the state and increases retail expenditure. It is up to the Government to decide the best way to achieve it, but one option could be a national insurance holiday on new jobs for 12 months."

Sainsbury's, which has 1,063 stores, said it is creating 20,000 seasonal jobs over Christmas, with 2,000 of those hired expected to be kept on permanently.

Following recent speculation on his own role, Mr King said he had no plans to step down over the next 12 months.

He said: "I do understand why, when someone's been in a job for eight years successfully, people think they'd have on their mind doing something else, but I'm very happy at Sainsbury's."

Interim pre-tax profits at the grocer rose by 5.4 per cent to £373m over the 28 weeks to 29 September, as total sales rose 4 per cent to £13.37bn.

Mr King said it had outperformed the grocery market, boosted by its sponsorship of the Paralympics and strong growth at its smaller convenience stores, online grocery operation and general merchandise business.

While it remains less profitable than Morrisons and Tesco in the UK, Sainsbury's underlying sales rose by 1.7 per cent in its first half, capping 31 consecutive quarters of growth.

Mr King said: "We represent nearly all of the growth in the market. We have the fastest level of growth of any of our competitors."

Sainsbury's underlying sales in the second quarter rose by 1.9 per cent, beating rivals Morrisons, which saw a 2.1 per cent fall, and the market leader Tesco, which recorded just 0.1per cent growth.

Neil Saunders, the managing director of the retail consultancy Conlumino, said: "Sainsbury's continues to successfully steer between delivering good-quality food and promoting compelling, value-for-money messages. Charting such a course sounds easy in theory but, as both Tesco and more recently Morrisons have found to their cost, it is difficult to execute well."

Mr King also hailed the contribution from its "brand match" price initiative, which gives customers a money-off coupon at the till if the branded products in their basket would have been cheaper at Tesco and Asda.

During the half year, Sainsbury's opened five supermarkets and 49 convenience stores and extended three stores.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones