Sainsbury (SBRY) still lives in cloud cuckoo land, with management proudly boasting that a miniscule rise of 0.1% in fourth quarter like for like sales shows strong growth. This is the first quarterly like for like sales rise in two years, so if you really are desperate and want to keep your job it is worth trying to pretend its a great performance. That of course ignores the fact that if Lidl had produced such disastrous figures, the whole lot from the office boy to the CEO would have quickly been shown the door.
All Sainsbury’s quarter four figures prove, is how it has become inured to failure and is completely incapable of competing with the its German rivals.
In fact the full figures are even worse because if you exclude fuel its like for like sales rise becomes an even bigger, like for like sales fall – down 0.5%.
True, clothing and entertainment both delivered strong growth of 10% and 11% respectively but the Germans don’t really compete there – at least not yet.
The main success of the quarter appears to have been the introduction of butternut squash noodles and other vegetable based delights – no doubt as part of a healthy, chemical free diet. Somehow I can’t see them ever replacing the Mediterranean diet.
Ocado OCDO has seen double digit growth in the 12 weeks to the 21st February, with gross sales up by 15.3%, without any help from vegetable based doo dahs. Despite a challenging retail environment, average weekly orders rose by 16.9%
Legal & General LGEN provides better news from the financial world and is raising its full year dividend by 19%, meaning that dividend increases over the past four years have now averaged 20%. Profit after tax rosey by 1`0% and adjusted earnings per share by 11%.
Stadium Group SDN is increasing its total dividends by 28.6%, matching a revenue increase of 29% for the year to 31st December. It also enjoys a strong order book and a pipeline of opportunities, with strong trading continuing into 2016.