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Sainsbury’s share price rallies as grocer’s sales rise

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Shares in J Sainsbury (LON:SBRY) have jumped in London this morning, as the blue-chip grocer posted a rise in sales for the first half of its financial year. The supermarket’s profits, however, dropped during the reported period, weighed down by the integration of Argos and the proposed merger with Walmart’s Asda.

As of 08:30 GMT, Sainsbury’s share price had added 1.47 percent to 323.80p. The stock is outperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having climbed 0.43 percent higher to 7,147.98 points so far today.

Sainsbury’s posts interims

Sainsbury’s announced in a statement this morning that its sales had climbed 3.5 percent to £16.88 billion in the 28 weeks to September 22. Retail sales excluding fuel were 1.2 percent up, while like-for-like sales came in 0.6 percent higher.

The group delivered underlying profit before tax of £302 million, up 20 percent year-on-year, while posting a 13-percent drop in profit after tax to £144 million, reflecting charges relating to restructuring our store management teams, Argos integration, proposed combination with Asda, and the transition of Sainsbury’s bank, with the unit moving to a new platform.

The blue-chip grocer said that while the consumer outlook was ‘uncertain’ as the company heads into its key trading period, it nevertheless remained on track to deliver current market consensus for 2018/19 UPBT of £634 million.

Asda merger update

Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe noted in today’s statement that the group continued “to engage constructively” with the Competition and Markets Authority which is currently  conducting its in-depth Phase Two review into the group’s proposed merger with Asda.

The watchdog recently outlined the scope of its investigation into the merger, and expects to issue its provisional findings early next year, ahead of the deadline for its final decision on March 5.

As of 09:08 GMT, Thursday, 08 November, J Sainsbury plc share price is 318.70p.

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