J Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY) shareholders have backed the re-election of chief executive Mike Coupe at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM). The grocer’s AGM came after the company’s first-quarter update this week, with the group posting a fall in sales and cautioning that retail markets remained “highly competitive and promotional and the consumer outlook continues to be uncertain”.
Sainsbury’s share price has been steady in London in today’s session, having gained 0.50 percent to 201.50p as of 10:01 BST. The shares are outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having slipped into the red and currently standing 0.34 percent lower at 7,577.35 points.
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Sainsbury’s CEO backed for re-election
Sainsbury’s announced in its AGM statement yesterday that 99.53 percent of the votes cast had backed the re-election of Mike Coupe as director. The support came even as Coupe came under fire earlier this year as the company’s proposed merger with Walmart’s Asda was blocked by the Competition and Markets Authority.
Proactive Investors reported in its coverage of the news that the grocer’s chairman Martin Scicluna had defended Coupe, saying the planned Asda merger would have been a great deal if approved, and that the CEO was a “man of great values and great integrity” and “the right guy to be serving us right now”.
Payout fuels anger at AGM
The Guardian meanwhile reported that Coupe was criticised by independent shareholders over a bumper pay package he was awarded last year despite the Asda merger failure. The newspaper quoted John Farmer, an independent investor, as commenting at the AGM that it was time for Coupe to leave as he had ‘manifestly not performed’ and the long-term returns for investors were ‘disgraceful’.
Sainsbury’s remuneration report, however, was approved by a little more than 90 percent of votes cast.
According to MarketBeat, the blue-chip group currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating, while the average Sainsbury’s price target stands at 236.60p.