Stumble at Sainsbury’s, Balfour’s back and Saatchi means Saatchi. FT Opening Quote, with commentary by Matthew Vincent, is your early Square Mile briefing. You can sign up for the full newsletter here. J Sainsbury’s chairman was left a little red faced last month, after being reprimanded for roping in staff and suppliers to renovate his East Sussex outbuildings. But the supermarket might have wished David Tyler had bought more Red Leicester and Blue Nun for the ensuing barn dance / outhouse-warming cheese and wine party. This morning’s trading update showed total retail sales grew only 0.1 per cent in the nine weeks to 11 March – and actually fell 0.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis.Sainsbury’s put this down to the later dates of Easter and Mothers’ Day this year. But the sales performance was still slightly worse than recent data from Kantar Worldpanel had indicated: it suggested that Sainsbury’s sales had risen by 0.3 per cent over 12 weeks to 26th February – and that was still slower than the sales growth at almost every other large UK supermarket chain.Strip out the ‘later dates’ effect and this maintains a mildly positive trend, though. Like for like sales in the 15 weeks to January 7 were 0.1 per cent higher than a year earlier, having fallen in the six months to the end of September.
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Stumble at Sainsbury’s, Balfour’s back and Saatchi means Saatchi. FT Opening Quote,...