LONDON May 7 British grocer J Sainsbury
posted a 5.3 percent rise in annual profit, its slowest
growth in nearly a decade, illustrating the pressure the
industry is under as a battle over prices to combat the rise of
the discounters hots up.
Sainsbury's, which trails market leader Tesco and
is battling with Wal-Mart's Asda to be Britain's No. 2
grocer, said on Wednesday it made an underlying pretax profit of
798 million pounds ($1.36 billion) in the year to March 15.
That compares with analyst forecasts in a range of 750-810
million pounds, with a consensus of 782 million pounds, and 756
million pounds made in the 2012-13 year.
The firm said conditions in the food retail sector are
likely to remain challenging for the foreseeable future as
customers continue to spend cautiously.
But it added that it expected its differentiated offer would
allow it to outperform peers in the year ahead.
($1 = 0.5885 British Pounds)
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)