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Business briefing: Sainsbury’s profits crash 41% fuelled by Asda flop

SAINSBURY’S is counting the cost of its ill-fated bid to merge with Asda as it reported a 41 per cent plunge in profits.

The supermarket giant revealed it took a £46million hit on the proposed deal, which was blocked last week by the UK’s competition watchdog.

In the year to March 9, profit after tax fell to £219million, down from £309million the previous year, Sainsbury’s said.

It reported a 0.9 per cent fall in like-for-like sales in the past three months after grocery and clothing trading suffered.

Group chief executive Mike Coupe (pictured) pledged to improve ‘over 400 supermarkets’ this year amid ‘competitive’ conditions.

‘We will increase and accelerate investment in the core business,’ said Mr Coupe.

‘I am confident in our strategy and also clear on what we need to do to continue to evolve the business in a highly competitive market where shopping habits continue to change.’

Although the chain reported a 7.8 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £635million, this was weighed down by £396million of charges, including the cost of its failed £12billion Asda bid.

The Competition and Markets Authority said the deal would lead to increased prices in stores, online and at petrol stations, leaving shoppers ‘worse off’.

The ruling put paid to Sainsbury’s hopes of leapfrogging market leader Tesco to take pole position.

Its full-year like-for-like sales performance was left 0.2 per cent lower after a difficult second half for the group. Total grocery sales fell 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, while clothing dropped 1.6 per cent.

iPhone hit but Apple rings up £9bn profit

APPLE’S revenue slumped five per cent to £44billion in the first three months of the year, results show.

It is the first time earnings have fallen for two consecutive quarters in two and a half years. The tech giant has been hit by shrinking sales amid weakening iPhone demand.

Apple still posted a profit of £9billion — down 16 per cent on last year. The company’s stock gained nearly five per cent — ten per cent below its peak seven months ago.

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