LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - Britain’s Sainsbury’s on Thursday reported a slight fall in underlying quarterly sales in its core supermarkets business and cautioned over uncertainty regarding cost pressures.
The firm, which last year purchased Argos-owner Home Retail, said sales at supermarket stores open over a year fell 0.5 percent, excluding fuel, in the nine weeks to March 11, its fiscal fourth quarter.
That compared to analysts’ forecasts ranging down 1 percent to up 0.3 percent, and a third quarter rise of 0.1 percent.
Argos’ like-for-like sales rose 4.3 percent, a slight acceleration from growth of 4.0 percent in the previous quarter.
“The market remains very competitive and the impact of cost price pressures remains uncertain. However, we are well placed to navigate the external environment and remain focused on delivering our strategy,” said Chief Executive Mike Coupe. (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)