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Thursday 12th of November 2009
November 11, 2009    

Sainsbury’s profits up 32%

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by Kay Murchie

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has today revealed a strong performance during half-year profits.

In the six months to October 3, the group said pre-tax profits were £342 million, up by one third on the £258 million reported a year earlier.

Profits were at the top end of analysts forecasts.

Meanwhile, like-for-like sales excluding fuel, which strips out the impact of new store openings, grew 5.7%.

The 140-year-old company appears to be bucking the trend in the retail industry after the figures represent the fifth consecutive year of like-for-like sales growth.

The retailer said its latest results represented a “strong performance” given the economic downturn.

However, it is cautious about the latter half of the financial year and said it expects trading conditions to be tougher.

In the meantime, the company is embarking on an ambitious expansion plan with the creation of 10,000 new jobs by next March and is expanding its current retail space by 15% - via existing and new stores. It is also hiring 20,000 temporary staff for the Christmas period.

Sainsbury’s has benefited from the economic downturn and is gaining customers from upmarket chains such as Marks and Spencer and Waitrose as cash-strapped consumers look to save money.

Bargain hunters have been opting for the supermarket’s ‘basics’ range which has resulted in strong sales at the group.

Last month, there was speculation that the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the state-backed wealth fund, was planning to increase its stake in the supermarket.

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