Sainsbury's profit up 5.3% but growth is slowing

The profit growth was the slowest in nearly a decade. Credit: PA

Outgoing Sainsbury's boss Justin King has capped his decade in charge of the supermarket by announcing a ninth successive year of annual profits growth, but warned of tough times ahead.

Underlying profits before tax rose 5.3% to £798m in the year to March 15, but like-for-like sales for the period were almost flat, edging up 0.2%.

Mr King, who will hand over the reins of the grocer to commercial director Mike Coupe in July after 10 years in charge, said a focus on quality, affordable own-brand products had helped Sainsbury's succeed in a tough retail environment.

But he warned: "While the general economic outlook is showing some signs of improvement, conditions in the food retail sector are likely to remain challenging for the foreseeable future as customers continue to spend cautiously."