That was in line with analysts’ consensus forecast but worse than a fall of 1.9% in the previous quarter.
In the quarter it opened its 300th petrol station.
In a price war, or indeed any war, there comes a time when losers have to lay down their weapons as the victors emerge.
The company said trading conditions were being impacted by “strong levels of food deflation” and a “highly competitive pricing backdrop”. Though their sales growth has slowed, Aldi and Lidl’s combined share of the United Kingdom market is expected to reach 12-15% by 2020.
“This is good news for customers but puts pressure on our sales”.
The improvement in large supermarket shares helped to send a revival for Sainsbury’s, with a rise of nearly five per cent to 261p.
The supermarket giant said like-for-like sales including fuel were down 3.7% in the first three months, but chief executive Mike Coupe stressed volumes and transaction numbers are growing.
It is also investing in improving the quality of its products and expanding its non-food, online and convenience business.
The supermarket chain’s sales have fallen for the sixth consecutive quarter as rival stores Tesco, Asda and Morrisons slash prices and dish out special offers to entice customers. Coupe said clothing sales had risen 5 per cent over the period, with its 17th Gok Wan collection enjoying its secondbest launch week.
Last month, Sainsbury’s reported its first loss in a decade, underlining the malaise afflicting the big four supermarkets as shoppers opt for discount retailers and shun out of town developments.
“However, the retailer has made some courageous moves on range, stores and promotion and we continue to assert that the Sainsbury’s cloud has more silver lining than some”.
Phil Dorrel, partner at Retail Remedy retail consultants said: “Mike Coupe took over Sainsbury’s just as the grocery market was changing and prices had started to be affected by deflation”.
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