Sainsbury’s growth slows  in Q4

Sainsbury’s has posted its slowest quarterly sales growth in five years.

Comparable sales, excluding fuel for the three months to 20 March, slowed to 1.7% down from 3.7% growth in the previous quarter.

Total sales for the quarter were up 4.4%. While comparable sales for the full year were up 4.3%, excluding fuel.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King says the chain’s “good performance was in line with expectations” but adds that he expects 2010 to “remain challenging”.

The supermarket says its non-food offer is continuing to grow at three times the rate of its food business and its online grocery offer saw sales rise by 15%.

During the quarter, Sainsbury’s relaunched its Freefrom and Be Good to Yourself own-brand ranges and announced it had become the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade products.

The supermarket has also relaunched its customer magazine “Fresh ideas” with two versions targeting different audiences.

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