Sainsbury’s slides to loss in fiscal 2021 as COVID-19 fuels costs

By: Wajeeh Khan
Wajeeh Khan
Wajeeh is an active follower of world affairs, technology, an avid reader, and loves to play table tennis in his free… read more.
on Apr 28, 2021
  • Sainsbury’s swings to £261 million of loss due to COVID-19 disruptions.
  • The British supermarket chain's full-year revenue jumps to £29.05 billion.
  • Sainsbury's declares 7.4 pence per share of a final dividend on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, J Sainsbury plc (LON: SBRY) said it concluded fiscal 2021 with a pre-tax loss. The company acknowledged growth in its revenue but swung to loss due to increased costs attributed to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Sainsbury’s shares opened about 4% up in the stock market on Wednesday but lost more than 5% in the next hour. The stock is now exchanging hands at 235 pence per share versus 226 pence per share at the start of the year.

Sainsbury’s reports £29.05 billion of revenue

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Sainsbury’s reported £261 million of loss before tax for the financial year that concluded on 6th March. In fiscal 2020, it had posted £255 million of profit instead. FactSet consensus was for the grocer to lose a higher £275.8 million in the recent year. Earlier in April, rival Tesco plc also said that its pre-tax profit took a hit in fiscal 2021 due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

At £356 million, Sainsbury’s underlying pre-tax profit in fiscal 2021 posted a 39% decline on a year over year basis. The British firm valued its revenue in the recent year at £29.05 billion versus the year-ago figure of a lower £28.99 billion. FactSet consensus for the supermarket chain’s revenue stood at a slightly higher £29.18 billion.

The London-based company attributed £485 million of costs in fiscal 2021 to the COVID-19 crisis. In separate news from the United Kingdom, miner Fresnillo published its first-quarter production update on Wednesday.

Sainsbury’s closed almost flat in the stock market last year with an annual decline of roughly 2%. At the time of writing, the UK’s 2nd largest supermarket chain is valued at £5.22 billion.

Sainsbury’s declares 7.4 pence per share of a final dividend

Sainsbury’s board declared 7.4 pence per share of a final dividend on Wednesday. Including 7.3 pence per share of a special dividend and 3.2 pence per share of an interim dividend, its full-year pay-out now stands at 17.9 pence per share.

Sainsbury’s now forecasts roughly £620 million of underlying pre-tax profit for the current year – ahead of that in 2020 and in line with experts’ forecast. Edison Group’s Director of Research, Neil Shah, commented on Sainsbury’s financial update on Wednesday and said:

“Although the economic outlook remains uncertain, the easing of lockdown is set to benefit supermarkets as footfall will return to stores, whilst permitted travel should drive fuel sales that have been sorely lacking.”

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