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Britain's Sainsbury's to step up investment after Asda deal killed

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) - Britain’s Sainsbury’s, chastened by the blocking of its takeover of rival supermarket group Asda, said it would accelerate investment in its store estate and technology as it reported a second straight quarter of underlying sales decline.

Sainsbury’s said on Wednesday its fourth quarter to March 9 like-for-like sales fell 0.9 percent, having fallen 1.1 percent over the Christmas period.

Underlying pretax profit for the group’s full 2018-19 year did, however, rise by a better-than-expected 7.8 percent to 635 million pounds ($828.3 million) helped by synergies from the Argos general merchandise business it purchased in 2016, and the total dividend increased 7.8 percent to 11.0 pence. ($1 = 0.7666 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)

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