Sainsbury's reports falling sales growth

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Sainsbury's has ​reported slowing sales growth and a 9​ per cent​ fall in half​ ​year profits after moves to keep prices low and ​rising ​cost pressures.

The fourth ​consecutive decline​ in profits​ ​also ​reflect​s​ the inclusion of the seasonally loss-making Argos business in the results.​

The group reported underlying pre-tax profits of £251​m ​in​ the six months to September 23.

Falling sales across general merchandise and Argos ​meant​ like-for-like sales ​rose just​ 0.6​ per cent​ in the second quarter, down from ​growth of ​2.3​ per cent​ in the first three months.

Total general merchandise sales ​fell 1.6​ per cent​ in the second quarter.

Chief executive Mike Coupe said the market remain​s​ competitive, but ​said the group ​i​s seeing clear results of its three-year plan.

"We have delivered a good performance across the group in the last six months, with more customers choosing to shop at Sainsbury's in the first half than ever before​," he said.​

"We are now three years into delivering our differentiated strategy and are seeing clear results."

He added the group remain​s​ focused on its strategy and ​i​s on track for full-year expectations.

​​Sainsbury‘s​ bought Argos in September 2016​.​

The figures come a month after ​Sainsbury's announced 2,000 jobs will go, mainly from human resources and payroll staff, adding to 1,000 head office job cuts in August, as part of efforts to cut another £500​m of costs.