LONDON, June 11 Britain's J Sainsbury
posted a second straight fall in quarterly underlying sales as
Chief Executive Justin King prepares to step down from the
grocer after 10 years at the helm.
The group, which trails market leader Tesco and is
battling with Wal-Mart Stores' Asda to be the UK's No. 2
supermarket, said sales at stores open over a year fell 1.1
percent, excluding fuel, in the 12 weeks to June 7, its fiscal
That compared to analysts' forecasts of down 0.5-1.5 percent
and a fall of 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of Sainsbury's
The fourth quarter decline followed unbroken positive sales
for the best part of nine years.
King will be succeeded by commercial director Mike Coupe
following Sainsbury's annual shareholders' meeting on July 9.
The group's total first quarter sales rose 1.0 percent,
Sainsbury's said it was confident it would outperform
supermarket peers through the remainder of the year.
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)