By Jonathan Davies

Sainsbury's has reported a £290m loss for the six months to the end of September amid falling sales.

The loss is largely due to the £287m cost of not going ahead with new stores and other one-off charges totalling £633m.

But like-for-like sales, which are seen as a key indicator of supermarkets' performance, were down 2.1% compared with the same period last year.

Sainsbury's had been on a decade long run of growing like-for-like sales. Generally, a fall of 1% is considered a big number for supermarkets.

Although not as bad as Tesco and Morrisons, Sainsbury's has been affected by the rise of Aldi and Lidl. And the supermarket expects sales to fall "for the next few years".

But there was more positive news in Sainsbury's non-food departments. Sales were up in its smaller convenience stores, its clothing departments and its bank.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe said the supermarket was embarking on a £500m cost cutting programme. But that didn't necessarily mean job cuts - not on a net basis, at least.

He said that as customers move towards different ways of shopping, jobs roles are likely to become different as well.

Mr Coupe also announced plans to invest around £150m in price cuts.

Tesco Price Promise

Yesterday (Tuesday), Sainsbury's lost its appeal against a decision to allow Tesco to continue using its Price Promise scheme.

Sainsbury's claimed that Tesco's Price Promise was misleading, unfair and unlawful as it compared prices of foods with different origins, containing different ingredients.

But the High Court ruled in favour of Tesco, saying no law had been broken.

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