Sainsbury's shares on the up after better-than-expected sales as it avoided 'horsegate'

 

Sainsbury’s boss Justin King has urged the Government to provide tax relief in tomorrow’s Budget to help businesses create new jobs, after it posted market-busting sales in its fourth-quarter.

The UK’s third-biggest grocer’s strong performance was driven by storming sales of its own-brand groceries, clothing and online food, and it also got a trading boost by emerging unscathed from the horsemeat scandal that has dragged in competitors.

Its chief executive since 2004, King called on George Osborne to avoid any “shocks for consumers” and to boost spending in the economy by handing employers a six- to 12-month “national insurance holiday” for new staff. He said: “If the Chancellor has money to spend, he should invest in job creation.” King, who served on the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group for two years, admitted that Sainsbury’s would be a beneficiary of such a policy, as it is taking on 6,000 new staff this year. But he said it would provide a much bigger boost to the Government’s coffers by taking people off benefits, lifting consumer spending and eventually delivering higher tax receipts.

Sainsbury’s, which has nearly 1,100 stores, delivered like-for-like sales up by 3.6% over the 10 weeks to March 16, which smashed City expectations and put its rivals in the shade.

Market leaders Tesco and Asda recently reported sales rises of 1.8% and 0.1%, respectively, while Morrisons suffered a 4.1% fall in its fourth quarter. King said: “This is the best performance in terms of outperforming the market for a while, if not ever.”

He said Sainsbury’s had “routinely carried out DNA testing on our products for over 10 years”. Excluding frozen beef and ready-meals, Sainsbury’s sales of meat, fish and poultry rose by 10%.

In 2011, the grocer launched 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 or Asda, and today King took a pot-shot at Tesco’s rival scheme, which  also compares own-brand products. He said: “We and our customers don’t think it’s a fair comparison on own-label.”

Analysts expect Sainsbury’s full-year profits to rise by 4% to  £743 million, although this will still be substantially less than Tesco and Morrisons.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'