Sainsbury's decision to step up its presence in the US with the acquisition of 18 supermarkets from Grand Union (see this page) does not necessarily mean it is in the country for the long haul, said analysts after interim results were announced on Wednesday. Sainsbury's subsidiary Shaw's picked up 12 stores in Vermont and six in Connecticut at the bankruptcy court auction of ailing New England grocery chain Grand Union. Chief executive Sir Peter Davis said further selective purchases would follow, while marketing director Sarah Weller said the move proved Sainsbury was "serious about being in the States and staying there". Buying a handful of stores from Grand Union was a "sensible infill acquisition rather than a major strategic decision," said Clive Black at CCF Charterhouse. New England is not core to Sainsbury's operations, he suggested. "If it gets an attractive offer for Shaw's, it'll take it." The decision to wind things down in Egypt came as no surprise. "Why they went in in the first place is beyond me," observed one analyst. Dismal results at the Egyptian operation were blamed on delayed store openings and a "deteriorating trading environment". {{NEWS }}