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Sainsbury’s now second-largest supermarket as row with Tesco intensifies

Sainsbury’s now second-largest supermarket as row with Tesco intensifies

Sainsbury's has overtaken Asda as the UK's second biggest supermarket, although it is still embroiled in a row with Tesco over its price-comparison policy.

In its half-year results, the supermarket recorded pre-tax profits of £400 million, a nine per cent improvement on the figures for the same period 12 months previously.

Its favourable results meant that it was the top performer among the UK's "big four" supermarkets and was also the only one to have increased its market share.

It also means that Sainsbury's has now recorded 35-consecutive quarters of sales growth, which for the six months to September 28th, grew by 4.4 per cent to £13.9 billion.

The firm has managed to make expansions in physical terms too, having added a 393,000 square feet of new space within six supermarkets, 50 convenience stores and two extensions.

Chief executive Justin King said that although Sainsbury's was placed at number two in terms of Britain's official supermarket pecking order, there was still plenty of evidence to suggest that it had edged ahead of rival Tesco in certain areas.

Mr King told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “We are number two by some measures but the most important measure is what our customers think.

“On pretty much every customer measure, we are leading among the supermarket pack.”

But he was quick to play down any concerns of the company getting carried away by the results, insisting that there was still a substantial amount of financial pressure being placed on many consumers, due to price rises remaining ahead of wage increases.

Mr King was also asked about the company's legal challenge to Tesco over its price comparison claim, and said that the reason his firm had taken action was due to the fact that its research had shown that over 80 per cent of customers do not consider the sourcing of a product to be a major consideration on their decision to buy.

He added: “They [Tesco] are not comparing like with like. Their assertion is that it does not matter to customers. They take the view that as long as the product has the same function, then it can be price compared.

 

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