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Sainsbury's cautious on outlook as first quarter sales dip

A man puts a shopping bag into a car outside a Sainsbury's store in London
Ben Stansall I AFP I Getty Images

Sainsbury's, Britain's second biggest supermarket, on Wednesday reported a drop in quarterly underlying sales and cautioned that market conditions remained challenging.

The firm, which in April agreed a 1.4 billion pounds ($2.04 billion) takeover of Argos-owner Home Retail, said sales at stores open over a year fell 0.8 percent, excluding fuel, in the 12 weeks to June 4, its fiscal first quarter.

That was slightly better than analysts' average forecast of down 1.4 percent but represented a step back from a rise of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of the supermarket's last financial year, its first quarter of growth in over two years.

Despite a cautious outlook Sainsbury's said it was confident it would continue to outperform its major peers.

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