Sainsbury’s records third consecutive quarter sales drop

<p>Sainsbury’s has seen like-for-like sales drop 2.8 per cent for the three months to the end of September.</p>

Sainsbury's has experienced a drop in sales for a third consecutive quarter.

The supermarket recorded a 2.8 per cent fall in like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, for the three months to the end of September. The drop has been fuelled by increasing competition within the supermarket sector including growing price wars and a bigger influence from discount grocery stores such as Aldi and Lidl.

Sainsbury's, along with other traditional supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda and Morrisons, have been looking at new strategies to combat the growth of Aldi and Lidl. Sainsbury's itself has teamed up with Scandinavian retail group, Dansk Supermarked, to relaunch Netto in the UK. The company has a series of stores scheduled to open next year with the north of England being the focus of the campaign.

The supermarket has been forced to lower prices on essential food items to compete with the likes of Asda as well as the discount retailers. It stated that it expected this trend in sales to continue into the second half of the year with figures due to be "similar to the first half".

Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury's, explained that "deflation in many areas of our business" is one of key drivers for short-term competition.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Coupe said: "Customers are shopping very differently to the way they were shopping even a year ago. So we are seeing an increase in the number of outlets available to them and they are shopping much more frequently and little and often shopping so these trends are changing very rapidly."

The drop in like-for-like sales goes alongside the decline in total sales which fell by 0.8 per cent over the past quarter. It has had a knock-on effect on the supermarket's share price which opened 0.72 per cent down at 249.70p.

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