The CEO of the UK’s second-largest supermarket told the newspaper: “That means that any benefit we see from any other part of our business, whether that be in Argos [which is owned by Sainsbury’s], whether that be in the bank, whether that be in fuel, gets invested right back into the food business, to keep our food prices as low as they possibly can be.”
Roberts’ comments follows criticism on Monday (3 July) from government MPs that UK retailers were using motorists as “cash cows” after an investigation by the monopolies watchdog found that supermarkets including Sainsbury’s had been overcharging drivers at the petrol pump.
Morrisons also responded to ministers by saying that a “modest increase in profitability in fuel” was key to its ability to invest in prices in its stores.
According to The Telegraph, Roberts said overall Sainsbury’s was making less profit and its margins were down.
Sainsbury’s said on Tuesday that food inflation was starting to fall, leading to shoppers buying more when in stores. It recorded an 11 per cent increase in grocery sales in the 16 weeks to June 24.
Roberts said grocery inflation at Sainsbury’s is currently running at around half the rate of the headline figure reported by the Office for National Statistics for food and drink which stood at 18.4 per cent in June.
He said inflation was falling fastest in areas including fresh food.