Spotlight switches to Sainsbury’s as supermarket delivers trading update

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The spotlight in the supermarket sector will switch from Tesco this week when rival Sainsbury’s delivers an eagerly-anticipated trading update.

Weakening sales and a declining market share mean Sainsbury’s will be the latest supermarket in the firing line when it presents figures on Wednesday.

The update is the first major test for new chief executive Mike Coupe, who has taken over from Justin King with the chain facing its biggest test in years.

Shares have slumped by around a third since the start 
of the year after rival Tesco highlighted the tough conditions with a series of profits 
warnings.

Analysts at Shore Capital fear that Sainsbury’s could be next to cut City forecasts, with the broker predicting that second quarter like-for-like sales will fall by between 3.5 per cent and four per cent compared to a year ago, as it battles for market share against pound shops and discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl.

Mr Coupe, the chain’s former commercial director, has just responded by lowering the prices on thousands of food lines.

It will ditch Tesco from 
its Brand Match price comparisons and will instead focus on Asda.

The Leeds-based chain began price cutting a year ago and is the only one of the big four supermarkets to hold its market share over this period.

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