UK Markets close in 6 hrs 59 mins
  • FTSE 100

    7,004.63
    +56.64 (+0.82%)
     
  • FTSE 250

    22,107.84
    -59.30 (-0.27%)
     
  • AIM

    1,232.56
    -3.10 (-0.25%)
     
  • GBP/EUR

    1.1638
    +0.0000 (+0.00%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.4057
    -0.0087 (-0.6171%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    35,670.96
    -405.83 (-1.12%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,468.19
    -95.64 (-6.12%)
     
  • S&P 500

    4,063.04
    -89.06 (-2.14%)
     
  • DOW

    33,587.66
    -681.50 (-1.99%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    63.78
    -2.30 (-3.48%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,819.90
    -16.20 (-0.88%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    28,147.51
    -461.08 (-1.61%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    28,231.04
    +217.23 (+0.78%)
     
  • DAX

    15,150.22
    +30.47 (+0.20%)
     
  • CAC 40

    6,279.35
    +11.96 (+0.19%)
     

Sainsbury’s says Covid costs have been high, but sales improve

Joanna Bourke
·1-min read
Sainsbury’s has seen high customer demand during the pandemic (Sainsbury’s)
Sainsbury’s has seen high customer demand during the pandemic (Sainsbury’s)

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has cheered sales growth, but Covid costs have been high and the group recorded a full-year pretax loss of £261 million .

The grocer is among chains to have seen high demand during the pandemic. It has been allowed to keep stores open over the last year, while non essential retailers have had to temporarily close at various points.

Comparable sales, excluding fuel, jumped 8.1% in the year to March 6, and digital sales more than doubled.

But Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts said: "This year's financial results have been heavily influenced by the pandemic. Food and Argos sales are significantly higher, but the cost of keeping colleagues and customers safe during the pandemic has been high.”

There were costs covering factors such as PPE and increased staff absence as the retailer paid people to stay at home when necessary. Underlying pretax profit was down 39% to £356 million. It also paid back business rates relief.

A total pre-tax loss of £261 million was posted, down from a profit of £255 million. That was linked to costs from a restructuring announced last year that includes the closure of a number of Argos shops and meat and deli counters.

Roberts said: "Like our customers, we are all looking forward to things feeling more normal over the coming months and getting excited about a summer of celebration, but we are also cautious about the economic outlook.”

The company said it has carried good underlying trading momentum into the new financial year and started the year strongly.

It expects underlying profit pre-tax profit in the financial year to March 2022 to exceed that reported in the year to March 2020.

Read More

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group slams latest business rates relief, calling some of the support “near worthless”

Business rates: What they are and why Frasers Group is not the only retailer urgently wanting to see reform

Sainsbury’s hikes profits guidance after Christmas sales boom