Sainsbury's steps cautiously into China

  • @Thompj

Sainsbury's is expected to post a 5 per cent rise in pre-tax profit to around £700m for the year to 17 March on Wednesday.

The results will reflect a successful 12 months for the UK's third biggest grocer, which has seen it gain market share in clothing. A range designed by TV stylist Gok Wan is among the fashion now being sold at Sainsbury's as it looks to further cash in on non-food sales.

The group's fourth quarter update has already shown that there was a 1.8 per cent hike in underlying sales, excluding fuel and store extensions. Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, said: "We believe that Sainsbury's has cranked out a very good performance in 2011-12."

Investors looking for an update on Sainsbury's China strategy are likely to be disappointed. The supermarket has more than 1,000 UK stores, but only a small team in the world's most populous country, where Tesco has more than 100 stores.

Chief executive Justin King is thought unlikely to reveal a launch timetable. A spokesman said: "International expansion is not part of our short-term plans but we are exploring, as we've always done, other possibilities in the medium to long-term."