New Sainsbury's boss says focus is on crisis, not strategic thinking

FILE PHOTO: Simon Roberts, Retail and Operations Director of Sainsbury's, poses for a portrait at the company headquarters in London, Britain, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - The new chief executive of Sainsbury's SBRY.L said his focus was on steering Britain's second biggest supermarket group through the coronavirus crisis rather than new strategic thinking.

Simon Roberts succeeded Mike Coupe as CEO on June 1.

“When I took this job back in January I didn’t expect of course all the events that have ensued since,” he told reporters on Wednesday after Sainsbury’s reported first-quarter results.

“Our focus at this point in time is - what do we need to do in the here and now?,” he said.

Roberts said Sainsbury’s would examine the impact of the changes in how customers are shopping.

“Inevitably, things on the other side of Covid will be different and we’ll be looking at those issues as we move forward. But four weeks into the job it’s too early to speculate.”

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton