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Sainsbury’s defends CEO Simon Roberts £4.95m pay package despite cost-of-living crisis

Sainsbury’s bosses have defended higher pay packages for senior executives including CEO Simon Robert’s, who was awarded £4.95 million last year despite the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Its annual report revealed that Roberts was given £3.96 million in bonuses on top of a £899,000 a year salary and other benefits. As a result, this figure was 37% higher than his pay the year prior.

Speaking at the supermarket giant’s AGM, chairman Martin Scicluna said: “What we are trying to do is focus on rewards for Simon, the operating board, senior leadership and colleagues. That’s why our colleague pay has gone up 44% over the past four years.

“It is a lower fixed pay, around 19% of the total, but we incentivised Simon and the team with the bonus and LTIPs [long-term incentive payments] to make sure that we grow profits because it is good for the company and means we can invest in innovation, technology and reward shareholders.”

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Responding to profiteering from high food inflation claims

“To be very, very clear, we are not profiteering and we are not rip-off retailers,” Scicluna said.

“We make 3p on every pound we sell. If we offered you something for £1, and I said I made 3p on that product, I don’t think you would call us a rip-off merchant or a profiteer, but some MPs have.”

The comments follow scrutiny UK supermarkets are facing by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is investigating claims of profiteering from high food inflation in the grocery sector.

“Grocery and food shopping are essential purchases. We recognise that global factors are behind many of the grocery price increases, and we have seen no evidence at this stage of specific competition problems,” CMA CEO Sarah Cardell said.

“But, given ongoing concerns about high prices, we are stepping up our work in the grocery sector to help ensure competition is working well and people can exercise choice with confidence.”


Earlier this week, Sainsbury’s posted a rise in quarterly sales reflecting its investment in value, innovation, service and availability. In the 16 weeks that ended 24 June 2023, the company reported a 9.2% rise in total revenues, with like-for-like sales excluding fuel soaring by 9.8%.

According to CEO Simon Roberts, it is committed to offering customers “the very best prices” as food inflation begins to ease.

As a result, he claimed that food prices “are not rising as fast as they were”.

“We are putting all of our energy and focus into battling inflation so that customers get the very best prices when they shop with us, particularly now as household budgets are under more pressure than ever,” Roberts said.

“Food inflation is starting to fall and we are fully committed to passing on savings to our customers.”

He added: “Prices on our top 100 selling products are now lower than they were in March, against a market where prices have gone up.”

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Sainsbury’s has been ranked as a Leading retailer in RXUK’s 2023 Top500 report, which highlights the wealth of information about how retailers sell that we’ve built up over the last nine years and how they have dealt with the cost-of-living crisis, Brexit and soaring inflation.

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