Cost savings, Argos synergies boost profit at Sainsbury's | 8 November 2018

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On a statutory basis, pre-tax profits dropped 40% to £132 million.

The FTSE 100 grocer said that food and general merchandise sales benefited from the hot summer and keener prices, with grocery sales.

The summer heatwave helped buoy sales over the second quarter, with like-for-like growth including Argos but excluding fuel coming in at 1 per cent, up from just 0.2 per cent in the previous three months.

"The market remains very competitive and we are transforming our business to meet rapidly changing customer needs", said chief executive Mike Coupe.

"It will result in lower prices for consumers".

On the tech front, Sainsbury's has been testing out a mobile payments service at its Local store in Clapham North, London.

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Sainsbury's opened 60 Argos stores in its supermarkets in the first half, bringing the total to 251.

"Our proposed combination with Asda will create a dynamic new player in United Kingdom retail, with the ability to further lower prices and to reduce the cost of living for millions of United Kingdom households".

It has to first get past the Competition and Markets Authority, of course, which is conducting a Phase Two review.

Sainsbury's £7.3 billion tie-up with rival Asda is now being reviewed by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), with the regulator raising concerns that consumers could face higher prices and a poorer quality of service due to geographical overlap of stores in key locations. Sales from the bigger supermarkets, by contrast, actually fell by 0.5%. Nectar, bought a year ago for £60 million, would provide a major boost to attempts to better understand shopper needs.

The group delivered underlying profit before tax of £302 million, up 20 percent year-on-year, while posting a 13-percent drop in profit after tax to £144 million, reflecting charges relating to restructuring our store management teams, Argos integration, proposed combination with Asda, and the transition of Sainsbury's bank, with the unit moving to a new platform. "If the regulator's blessing is conditional on hundreds of forced store closures, the impetus for the deal could crumble".

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