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UK Sainsbury Reports Flat Sales in 3Q

LONDON - Britain's third biggest supermarket chain, J Sainsbury Plc, today said its underlying sales growth was just 0.1 percent in its third quarter, Reuters reports. The company said sales were disrupted by upgrades to systems and distribution centers.

Sainsbury's market share currently falls behind Tesco and Wal-Mart's Asda.

The company said it put its three-year investment program on hold for the four key weeks ending Jan. 3, and saw like-for-like sales move up two percent. Total UK sales for the quarter rose 1.8 percent.

"We must continue to be realistic about the level of change being undertaken ... and the major changes taking place in the UK grocery retail sector, " said chief executive Peter Davis, who plans to step up to become chairman in March, when former Marks & Spencer food head Justin King will take on the c.e.o. role.

In the United States, the company's Shaw's chain put up a better performance, with total sales up 6.6 percent and underlying sales up 1.5 percent.
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