Sainsbury's reports fall in sales
Sainsbury's has reported its first fall in sales for nine years in its fourth quarter trading statement for the 10 weeks to 15 March.
Total sales for the quarter fell by 1.5% and like-for-like sales were down by 3.8%.
Chief executive Justin King said: 'We have seen a decline in sales in the quarter reflecting tough comparatives. This time last year our sales benefited significantly from the discovery of horsemeat in some branded and competitors' products.'
He also said that the market is growing at its slowest rate since 2005. In addition, the later timing of Easter and Mother's Day, along with the unseasonable weather have contributed to lower market growth year on year.
Looking ahead Mr King said: 'Although some economic indicators are showing an improvement in the health of the economy, we expect the outlook for customers to continue to be challenging for the coming year.'
Justin King will step down as chief executive in July and will be succeeded by Mike Coupe, who is currently Sainsbury's group commercial director.