Sainsbury’s posts first loss in a decade

<p>Britain’s third-largest supermarket chain reports a £72 million loss for the year to March 14th.</p>

Supermarket group Sainsbury's has reported its annual results, showing the chain's first loss in a decade.

Britain's third largest supermarket chain saw a statutory pre-tax loss of £72 million for the year to March 14th, compared to a profit of £898 million last year. The news comes after the company experienced a fall in sales and writedowns on the value of its property. 

The last time the company reported a loss was before former chief executive Justin King began a turnaround programme in 2005. 

Other big supermarkets are also experiencing difficult times, due to changes in consumer buying habits. The BBC reports that British consumers are switching from a big weekly shop in a single supermarket to smaller shopping trips throughout the week at a variety of supermarkets, as well as convenience stores and online. Morrisons recently reported a £792 million loss and Tesco saw one of the biggest losses in its UK corporate history – £6.4 billion.

Current chief executive Mike Coupe explained that the market is experiencing major changes, but he believes that the company's strategy will help to recover from the slump.

"The UK marketplace is changing faster than at any time in the past 30 years, which has impacted our profits, like-for-like sales and market share," he said.

"However, we are making good progress with our strategy, and our investment in price and quality is showing encouraging early signs of volume and transaction growth," he added.

Sainsbury's suffered a 1.9 per cent fall in like-for-like sales during the year. This brought underlying profits down 15 per cent to £681 million. Trading profits have also fallen for the first time for the company.

​Mr Coupe says the company understands that consumers still want the best quality food and great prices.

"Our strategy is built on our strong foundations of selling great food with a focus on quality, provenance and sustainability. At the same time, we know that our customers want value for money and we have therefore invested in lowering our prices; our prices versus our competitors have never been better," he said.

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