Jan. 9 - J Sainsbury's CFO talks to Reuters about Christmas and future prospects after Britain's No. 3 supermarket met forecasts for underlying sales in the Christmas quarter, but saw slower growth from its first half. Hayley Platt reports.
It was a record breaking Christmas for Sainsbury's - it beat its main rivals in sales growth. But third quarter results have ended the festive cheer. Like-for-like sales at Britain's third biggest supermarket rose just .9 percent, with total sales up 3.3 percent. It's in line with forecasts but less than the 1.9 percent growth in the previous quarter. John Rogers is Sainsbury's CFO. SOUNDBITE: John Rogers, CFO, J Sainsbury, saying (English): "It was a tough Christmas for our customers, a tough Christmas for the market overall but what the market share data that came out yesterday shows was that we are one of the only major four supermarkets in the UK that's increasing its market share." There's little sign of growth in the retail market in the UK. But own brand, non-food sales and price matching helped Sainsbury's steal market share. Development of online shopping and convenience stores also helped. Rogers is confident Sainsbury's will continue to challenge its rivals, despite many households having less money and many workers fearing for their jobs. SOUNDBITE: John Rogers, CFO, J Sainsbury, saying (English): "I don't think the environment is necessarily going to get any worse. I think that we've been living in this type of tough -environment now for a good 18 months or so. The behaviour that we're seeing customers adopt, of shopping more frequently of buying less items on average per basket per week is now entrenched and I think we'll continue to see that behaviour going forward." Sainsbury's shares have risen more than 13 percent over the past year. But lost more than 3.5 percent following its results.