Shares in J Sainsbury (LON:SBRY) have fallen into negative territory following the latest Kantar data which showed that the company’s sales and market share had dropped in the 12 weeks to February 24. The update makes another blow for the blue-chip grocer after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently disclosed its provisional findings into the company’s proposed merger with Asda, flagging ‘extensive competition concerns’ over the tie-up and cautioning that it thought it was ‘likely to be difficult’ for the parties to address them.
As of 10:37 GMT, Sainsbury’s share price had given up 1.20 percent to 230.90p, underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.33 percent higher at 7,158.17 points. The group’s shares have lost more than eight percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 0.5-percent gain in the Footsie.
Latest Kantar numbers
Kantar Worldpanel said in a statement this morning that year-on-year UK supermarket sales had grown 1.9 percent in the 12 weeks to February 24. Sainsbury’s was the only ‘Big Four’ grocer to see its sales fall, posting a one-percent drop, while its market share retreated 0.5 percentage points to 15.7 percent.
“Despite this, its premium Taste the Difference range proved popular – sales rose four percent and the products found their way into a quarter of all Sainsbury’s shopping baskets,” Fraser McKevitt, head of Retail and Consumer Insight at Kantar Worldpanel, commented in the statement. Kantar further noted that Asda and Sainsbury’s now have a potential combined market share of 31.2 percent as they await the final CMA ruling on their proposed tie-up.
Analysts on Sainsbury’s
Kepler Capital Markets downgraded the FTSE 100 grocer to a ‘hold’ last month, trimming its valuation on the shares from 337p to 221p. According to MarketBeat, Sainsbury’s currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 268.10p.