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New Sainsbury's boss debuts with lockdown boosted sales rise

LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) - Sainsbury’s, Britain’s second biggest supermarket chain, said underlying retail sales rose 8.2% year-on-year in its first quarter to June 27, driven by the country being on coronavirus lockdown for all of the period.

The group, now under the leadership of chief executive Simon Roberts who succeeded Mike Coupe on June 1, said on Wednesday total grocery sales increased 10.5% in the 16 weeks to June 27, its fiscal first quarter, as shoppers returned to big weekly shops and spent more online and in local convenience stores.

Sainsbury’s said it still expected flat underlying pretax profit for the full 2020-21 year, with the impact of COVID-19 expected to be more than 500 million pounds ($618 million)broadly offset by business rates relief and stronger grocery sales. ($1 = 0.8087 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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