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Sainsbury's sales plunge as supermarket wars bite

Can supermarket Sainsbury's recover?

J Sainsbury added to the gloom around the U.K. retail sector on Tuesday as it reported a 3.9 percent slide in like-for-like sales, including fuel, as it was hit by both the oil price fall and a price war between U.K. supermarkets.

This is the supermarket giant's fifth quarterly sales decline in a row.

In the battle for the U.K. consumer's pennies, J Sainsbury's -- called Sainsbury's on the high street -- price cuts have been less aggressive than competitors to date. It is also battling low food price inflation.

Scott Barbour, Getty Images News, Getty Images

The supermarket is facing challenges from discounters Aldi and Lidl, and at the higher end of the market, from Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

Mike Coupe, who took over as chief executive of Sainsbury's from long-serving Justin King last year, said in a statement: "We expect the market to remain challenging for the foreseeable future. Food deflation is likely to persist for the rest of this calendar year, and competitive pressures on price will continue."