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We'll Cut Costs to Survive: Sainsbury CFO

Supermarket chain Sainsbury plans to combine cost cuts with expansion in 2013, CFO John Rogers told CNBC Wednesday, with the group determined to lure more cash-strapped consumers to its mid-range supermarkets.

Britain's third largest food retailer achieved its best ever Christmas trading period in 2012, reporting total sales growth for its fiscal third quarter of 3.9 percent. Like-for-like sales were up 1.5 percent.

"We'll continue to invest in our growth but you can't survive in this industry unless you continue to cut costs and we have to continue that going forward. You have to work on both fronts to be successful as a business in this tough environment," Rogers said.

Rogers added that a number of supermarket promotions and customer incentives had helped the supermarket succeed during the highly competitive run up to Christmas, a pivotal time for supermarkets.

He added that customers were under increasing financial pressures in a challenging economic environment and may have foregone their usual preference for more upmarket purchases during the festive period and stayed with a more budget-friendly retailer.

"Customers are under budgetary pressures. We've had success with 'Brand Match' and own label sales as well as reward points, so all these things help customers and value for money, and we're very comfortable with our performance," Rogers said.

Sainsbury's shares fell as the market opened, down 1.36 percent. Although sales growth remained strong in the third quarter, it slowed from 4 percent in the first half of the year.

Morrison – one of Sainsbury's rivals and one of the big four supermarkets in the U.K. – reported dismal numbers earlier this week with like-for-like sales down 2.5 percent year-on-year in the last six weeks of 2012.

By CNBC's Shai Ahmed; Follow her on Twitter @shaicnbc

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