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Clothing sales up 9% as Sainsbury’s makes £72m loss

Sainsbury’s has made a full year loss of £72m as sales fall 0.9% to £26bn for the full year to March 14.

But the supermarket chain said its clothing and general merchandise are performing strongly, with sales up by over 9% during the period.

Retail sales fell by 0.2% and like-for-like sales were down by 1.9%. Underlying profits before tax fell 14.7% to £681m.

The company said it has delivered operating costs savings of £140m during the year and expects to deliver total savings of £500m over the next three years. It plans to reduce core retail capital expenditure from £947m during the last year to between £500m and £550m per year for the next three years.

Chief executive Mike Coupe pinpointed clothing, which retails under the Tu brand, as one of the areas targeted for growth in future.

“The UK marketplace is changing faster than at any time in the past 30 years which has impacted our profits, like-for-like sales and market share. However, we are making good progress with our strategy, and our investment in price and quality is showing encouraging early signs of volume and transaction growth.

“We also have significant opportunities to grow our business. Clothing, general merchandise and financial services have all performed well over the past 12 months, as have our convenience and online channels. We have a significant ambition to grow these areas over the coming years.”

The supermarket chain restructured its store support centres to “improve efficiencies” and cut job roles by 500. Last month, it also announced it would be structuring stores to improve efficiency and customer service, which it expects will result in around 800 fewer roles.

Sainsbury’s has created 480 specialist job roles at digital hubs in London and Coventry.

@Tara_Hounslea

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