Sainsbury’s reports tech investment as sales fall
Written by Peter Walker
Sainsbury’s has balanced falling sales across the business with increased investment in technology.
The supermarket chain’s latest trading update revealed that total retail sales were down 1.2 per cent, while grocery sales declined 0.5 per cent over the quarter.
General merchandise sales declined by 3.1 per cent and clothing sales declined by 4.5 per cent, although convenience and online channels continued to grow in the quarter, by 1.5 per cent and 5.1 per cent respectively.
Sainsbury’s has upgraded 29 more Argos stores to self-service digital formats in the first quarter of 2019, with 206 now offering its Pay@Browse technology.
Customers can pay at the same tablet they use to browse the retailer’s catalogue’s 20,000 products, before picking up their order at collection pods. Argos explained that this frees up store colleagues to help people at the Pay@Browse areas and bring products to the collection pods.
Argos Fast Track collection has also grown by 20 per cent and Fast Track delivery by 13 per cent year-on-year, as customers increasingly look for convenient ways to shop.
Sainsbury’s is also rolling out its SmartShop self-scan technology, which helps customers keep track of their spend as they shop and check out without queuing – it is now available in 148 supermarkets.
Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said in a statement: “We continue to adapt our business to changing shopping habits and made good progress in a challenging market."
He was forced to defend his £3.9 million pay packet ahead of the company's annual general meeting today, as shares dropped by 26 per cent this year.
"My pay is set by a remuneration committee. It goes up, it goes down," said Coupe, whose salary and bonus could be voted down. He has come in for criticism after the proposed merger of Sainsbury's and Asda was blocked by the Competition and Markets Authority in April.