Sainsbury's profit falls 15% after failure of Asda deal

LONDON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - British supermarket group Sainsbury’s reported a 15% fall in first-half profit, blaming the combined impact of the phasing of cost savings, higher marketing costs and tough weather comparatives with last year which impacted on sales.

The profit fall comes as the 150-year old Sainsbury’s tries to rebuild confidence in its strategy following a botched attempt to take over rival Asda. Britain’s competition regulator blocked the agreed 7.3 billion pound ($9.4 billion) deal in April and Sainsbury’s shares have fallen 34% over the last year.

Sainsbury’s said on Thursday it made an underlying pretax profit of 238 million pounds in the 28 weeks to Sept. 21. That compares with analysts’ average forecast of 232 million pounds but is down from 279 million pounds made in the same period last year.

It forecast profits in the second half would benefit from the annualisation of last year’s staff wage increase and a normalisation of marketing costs and weather comparatives. (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)