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Sainsbury   Market conditions remained challenging

Sainsbury's first quarter sales down 0.8%

SainsburySainsbury's said like-for-like retail sales fell 0.8% excluding fuel and were down 1% including petrol. Total retail sales rose 0.3%, excluding fuel, and were down 0.1% including petrol sales.

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The company said it had started to implement its decision to remove "Brand Match" as part of its "simpler trading strategy to offer lower regular prices".

It added that promotional participation levels had reduced further in the quarter and were now tracking at 23%, down from more than 30% from the same period last year and said the vast majority of multi-buys would be phased out by August.

Chief executive officer Mike Coupe said market conditions remained "challenging".

"Food price deflation continues to impact our sales and pressures on pricing mean the market will remain competitive for the foreseeable future. However, we are confident that our strategy to be a trusted multi-channel, multi-product and services retailer is delivering and will enable us to continue to outperform our major peers," he said.

"We have made a solid start to the year with like-for-like transaction growth across all our channels and total volume growth. Customers continue to shop with Sainsbury's, knowing we will deliver on our commitment to provide great quality products and services at fair prices, whenever and wherever they wish to shop."

"Sainsbury's is well-positioned. Our core food business offers customers choice, quality and a clear value proposition. General merchandise and clothing continue to perform well with good sales growth across both businesses, and we continue to see encouraging results from Sainsbury's Bank, a significant opportunity for long-term growth.

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