Sainsbury’s reports rise in profits

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has reported a rise in annual profits but has warned of “challenging” times ahead.

Pre-tax profit for the year to 15 March rose by 16.3% to £898m.

The firm has said that it maintained market share in a “tough retail environment”. The big four supermarkets are being challenged by low-cost rivals including Lidl and Aldi.

The big four have responded by cutting prices in an attempt to stem the loss of customers to the low-cost chains.

In March, Sainsbury’s reported its first quarterly fall in like-for-like sales for nine years, with sales down 3.1% in the 10 weeks to 15 March.

Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Justin King said that “while the general economic outlook is showing some signs of improvement, conditions in the food retail sector are likely to remain challenging for the foreseeable future as customers continue to spend cautiously,”