The Supermarket chain Sainsbury has announced 3,500 job cuts and that it will be closing all its meat, fish and deli counters.
Presenting its results for the half year to the 19th September which showed its sales up 7.1 per cent and it’s Digital sales up 117 per cent to £5.8 billion, nearly 40 per cent of total sales,it also announced that it will be closing 420 Argos Stores as part of a general restructuring.
The Group reported a Loss before tax £(137) million, reflecting £438 million of one-off costs associated with Argos store closures and other strategic and market changes with underlying profit before tax £301 million.
Retail costs of approximately £290 million to protect customers and colleagues from COVID-19, partially offset by £230 million business rates relief
Simon Roberts, Chief Executive of J Sainsbury plc said:
“As we go into lockdown in England for the second time this year and restrictions are in place across the UK, we know our customers and colleagues are feeling anxious and we will do all we can to support them.
Our colleagues have done an exceptional job going above and beyond for our customers every day which is why we are giving our frontline colleagues a second 10 per cent thank you payment. Above all else today, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to every one of my colleagues in our stores, in our depots, and across our store support centres for all your hard work and for your outstanding team effort.
We also want to support our communities and those in need and are creating a £5 million community fund for local charities and good causes, in addition to the £7 million we donated to Fareshare and Comic Relief earlier this year. We want to do our bit to ensure that no one goes hungry at Christmas and to support those most in need.
“COVID-19 has accelerated a number of shifts in our industry. Investments over recent years in digital and technology have laid the foundations for us to flex and adapt quickly as customers needed to shop differently. Around 19 per cent of our sales were digital this time last year and nearly 40 per cent of our sales are digital today.
“While we are working hard to help feed the nation through the pandemic, we have also spent time thinking about how we deliver for our customers and our shareholders over the longer term.
“We will put food back at the heart of Sainsbury’s. We are already working to make this happen – we have lowered prices on over 1,500 every day grocery products over the past few months and we will do more of this, focusing on the staple products that our customers buy every day. We know that customers are feeling the pinch and we want them to feel confident they will get always get great value, quality and service from Sainsbury’s. We will focus on accelerating product innovation and will bring new and exclusive products to our customers much more often. To support our ambition in food, we are accelerating our ambition to structurally reduce our cost base right across the business so we can invest faster back into our core food offer.
“Our other brands – Argos, Habitat, Tu, Nectar and Sainsbury’s Bank – must deliver for their customers and for our shareholders in their own right. Argos sales have been strong over the past six months and we have gained almost two million new customers as people have re-connected with Argos. Over the next three years we will make Argos a simpler, more efficient and more profitable business while still offering customers great convenience and value and improving availability. We will also make Habitat more widely available in Sainsbury’s and Argos, giving customers access to stylish home and furniture products at more affordable prices. We are talking to colleagues today about where the changes we are announcing in Argos standalone stores and food counters impact their roles. We will work really hard to find alternative roles for as many of these colleagues as possible and expect to be able to offer alternative roles for the majority of impacted colleagues.
“Given the unprecedented circumstances of this year and the challenges facing our colleagues, including the changes we are announcing today, I have informed the Board that if a bonus is payable, I will waive any bonus entitlement for this financial year.