Sainsbury’s boss defiant despite £46m cost of failed Asda merger

Mike Coupe says he has board’s backing to stay in his post as supermarket’s profits slump

The chief executive of Sainsbury’s has said he has the full support of the board to remain in his post despite a failed attempt to merge with Asda, which cost £46m last year.

Annual pre-tax profits dived 41.6% to £239m after £396m of one-off costs, including the cost of preparing a deal with Asda, which was crushed by the competition regulator last week.

Total sales at the supermarket group, which owns Argos, rose 2.1% to £32.4bn. However, sales at established stores slid 0.2% for the year, including a 0.9% drop in the last quarter when food and clothing sales dropped back.

“I’m sticking to the company. I’m very proud of the organisation I run,” Mike Coupe, who took the helm at Sainsbury’s in July 2014, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He added later that he expected to remain in the post for “months and years”. He said: “The board is fully supportive of the leadership team and there isn’t a single major investor that wasn’t supportive of the [Asda] deal but also recognised there were risks involved.”

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