Announcing annual underlying pre-tax profits up 11.3% to £543m for the 52 weeks to 21 March, King said the retailer wanted to make up for a slow start into the non-food market by dedicating half of all new space added to the estate to non-food. Non-food currently accounts for 15% of sales.
“The irony of this business is the lack of development through the 1990s and the early noughties means we now have the greatest potential for growth of any retailer,” said King. “Proportionally, our biggest growth channel will be non-food.”
Sainsbury's will open 850,000 sq ft of additional space this year, expanding its estate by 5%. Of this, 3.5% will be new supermarkets, 1.5% convenience stores and 1% extensions.
King also attempted to quash speculation that he was ready to leave the job, although he refused to be drawn on whether he had been approached by M&S. “I’ve got plenty of years left in the tank,” he said.
Sainsbury's total sales rose 5.7% to £20.4bn during the year, with like-for-like sales up 4.5%.