It's Britain's second biggest supermarket chain but it's new figures reflect Britain's struggling household budgets.
What Justin King told me will serve as a sobering financial warning in the week we were told that the economy is on the mend.
After dire warnings of a 'sea of red' on the high street, we're starting to get a flavour of how we all really spent before Christmas.
Tesco has revealed that its trading profits in its UK business rose 1.5% to £1.13 billion, with like-for-like sales excluding petrol remaining flat in its second quarter after falling 1% in the previous three months.
Despite improved trading in the UK, the retailer's first half group pre-tax profits of £1.39 billion, are down 23.5%.
– Tesco chief executive, Philip Clarke
The challenging retail environment in Europe has continued to affect the performance and profitability of our businesses there. The investments we have made to improve our offer for customers in the region are already starting to take effect and we expect a stronger second half as a result.
– Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King
We have delivered strong sales over the quarter, continuing to outperform the market in what remains a tough retail environment.
We are the only major supermarket to be growing market share. This comes during a quarter in which we also lapped some of our strongest performance during the Paralympic Games last year.
Supermarket giant Tesco has reported a 23.5% drop in group pre-tax profits to £1.39 billion in the six months to August 24.
Supermarket chain Sainsbury's like-for-like sales are up 2.1% for the second quarter of the year to 28 September 2013, according to its latest trading statement.
Total sales for second quarter were up 5.0 per cent.
Total sales for the first half up 4.4 per cent (4.0 per cent excluding fuel) and like-for-like sales up 1.5 per cent (1.4 per cent excluding fuel).
A City recruitment consultant stole up £450 of produce from a London branch of Sainsbury's by entering all his items as 'loose onions' at a self-scanning machine, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Nicholas Long used the same ruse 20 times in the space of just three months in a desperate bid to reduce his shopping bill.
The 25-year-old was caught when a security guard noticed him scanning every item as loose onions - despite them not being available to buy at the store.
Long came up with the scam because he feared losing his job, had mounting debts and his girlfriend was pregnant, the Old Bailey heard.
He was sentenced to 180 hours community service and order to pay £250 costs.
Sainsbury's has stressed that no traces of E.coli have been found in watercress and that ongoing tests are taking place on a precautionary basis.
The supermarket chain earlier announced that it was recalling all of its bagged watercress and salads containing watercress due to a potential association with an outbreak of E.coli 0157 which has made 15 people ill.
A Sainsbury's spokesperson said:
The Food Standards Agency has made us aware that a small number of people have fallen ill with a bacterial infection, and that one of their lines of investigation is watercress bought at Sainsbury's since 1st August.
Customer safety and the quality of our food are our overriding concern, and so although no traces of contamination has been found in our products we have as a precautionary measure withdrawn six lines of pre-packed salad containing watercress from the supplier concerned.
We are urgently testing all similar products and have to date found no indication of contamination. We will of course keep customers fully updated.
Customers who have bought any of these products from Sainsbury's since 1st August should not consume them. They can be returned to store for a full refund. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.”
Sainsbury's has recalled all of its baggedwatercress and salads containing watercress due to a possible association withan outbreak of E.coli 0157.
The products affected are:
- by Sainsbury’s Watercress Leaves, 75g
- by Sainsbury’s Watercress, Spinach and Rocket salad, 100g
- by Sainsbury’s Watercress, Spinach and Rocket, 170g
- by Sainsbury’s Watercress twin pack, 2 x 35g
- So Organic Watercress, 75g
- So Organic Watercress, Spinach and Rocket, 100g
Sainsbury's is recalling all of its bagged watercress and salads containing watercress as a precautionary measure due to a potential association with an outbreak of E.coli 0157 which has made 15 people ill, according to the Food Standards Authority.
Sainsbury's has informed the FSA that it is carrying out testing on all of its affected lines, but no trace of E.coli O157 has yet been found.