Sainsbury's, one of the UK's leading supermarket chains, has reported a loss in sales for the latest quarter, which accounts for the ten-week period leading up to Saturday March 15th.
Figures for the fourth quarter show that sales were down by 1.5 per cent for the store, while like-for-like sales decreased by 3.8 per cent.
Chief executive of the company Justin King said in a statement: "We have seen a decline in sales in the quarter reflecting tough comparatives."
He added that the busy retail dates of both Easter and Mother's Day fall slightly later than normal this year, so sales relating to them will be reflected within the next financial year's figures instead.
Mr King also pointed out that the recent extreme weather the country has experienced may have contributed to a decline in sales figures.
With regard to the significant fall in like-for-like sales, Mr King highlighted that last year the supermarket saw these increase more than usual due to issues elsewhere in the industry.
He said: "This time last year our sales benefited significantly from the discovery of horsemeat in some branded and competitors' products."
Despite the fall in sales figures, there have been some positive points for Sainsbury's throughout the year.
Mr King said: "We are pleased … that market data shows we have maintained market share at 17 per cent."
This is despite the market as a whole performing at its slowest rate for nine years with regard to growth.
In addition to this, Sainsbury's own-brand products accounted for 51 per cent of the supermarket's total sales, while the store has also experienced success with its convenience outlets, with these contributing 15 per cent towards total sales.
With regard to its clothing range, its menswear products grew in popularity by 23 per cent and it has renewed its contract with celebrity stylist Gok Wan to design a further 12 collections.
Sainsbury's may not be experiencing growth relating to sales, but it has expanded space-wise over the past year, opening 13 new supermarkets, 91 convenience outlets and extending six of its current stores.