Sainsbury's new chief executive Sir Peter Davis has been putting himself about in the City, ahead of the release of the company's first quarter sales figures at its agm on July 26, trying to convince analysts that he's the man to turn around the decline of the ailing company. His track record with Reed Elsevier and the Pru helped to earn him a receptive audience, but no one's expecting an immediate recovery. Although he's known in the City as a man for action and he's already started shaking things up since he took over on March 1, he's taken on a massive task, and Sainsbury's deep seated problems aren't going to be solved overnight. One of Sainsbury's strongest assets, however, is a fundamentally strong brand, but one that requires nurturing back to life. He's been telling the City that he's going to differentiate Sainsbury's offer and develop a perception of price and value, but as one analyst said this week: "We've heard that from Sainsbury management for the last six or seven years and we're still waiting for it to happen." Sir Peter has, it is true, been pretty short on detailed strategy. One of his first wise moves was to scrap the wild predictions from his predecessors about the planned growth of Sainsbury Local. There are few suitable sites around and competition for them is intense. The performance of the larger stores must be the prime concern. When the first quarter results come out on July 26 it will be a surprise if they are not still in negative territory. Cost can't be taken out of the operation easily, and more cost is probably going to have to go in before it comes out. But what he does need to do is put some flesh on the bones of the strategy he has outlined, to reassure the City he has a clear recovery plan. {{NEWS }}