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Sainsbury’s: Bumper grocery sales help offset £500m hit to profits

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Sainsbury’s has revealed a better-than-forecast leap in coronavirus lockdown grocery sales – reporting it will help offset a £500m hit to profits from pandemic-related costs.

The UK’s second-largest supermarket retailer said online sales more than doubled during the 16 weeks to 27 June – covering its first financial quarter.

Total retail sales rose by 8.5% and comparable like-for-like sales by 8.2% when fuel sales were excluded, the company said.

It reported growth in all categories except clothing, which plunged by more than a quarter.

The chain, which includes Argos in its stable of businesses, said it did not expect the sales surge to be maintained as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The profit hit from the crisis was expected to be more than £500m, as previously guided, but it would be “broadly offset by business rates relief and stronger grocery sales”, Sainsbury’s said.

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