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Sainsbury’s (SBRY) has played down reports it is preparing to replace under pressure CEO Mike Coupe following the collapse of its merger with Asda.

The Telegraph reported on Saturday that Sainsbury’s was “kicking-off the search for a new chief executive”.

The paper tipped three internal candidates for the job – John Rogers, the boss of Argos, Simon Roberts, its retail and operations director who used to run Boots UK, and Paul Mills-Hicks, the food commercial director.

However, Sainsbury’s insisted Coupe retains the “full support” of its board and shareholders.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson stated: “We are not talking to internal candidates about succession planning for Mike and have been clear he has the full support of shareholders and the board.”

The spokesperson did not deny a succession plan was being explored, but added: “Every responsible business has potential succession plans for its CEO. This is nothing new.”

Coupe has come under pressure after the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority blocked Sainsbury’s ambitious merger with Asda, the failure of which cost the supermarket £46m and leaves Sainsbury’s in need of a new strategic direction.

Sainsbury’s shares are trading at historic all-time lows and have lost almost half their value since news of the Asda merger emerged in summer last year.

Morning update

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has started the week up 0.9% or 61pts to 7,178.4pts after a torrid week last week on global growth and trade concerns.

Sainsbury’s is up 1.6% to 185.4p on reports the supermarket is constructing a succession plan to replace current CEO Mike Coupe.

Early risers include C&C Group (CCR), up 3.1% to €4.27, DS Smith (SMDS), up 1.9% to 319.9p, Ocado (OCDO), up 1.9% to 1,173p and FeverTree (FEVR), up 1.6% to 2,183p.

The day’s few fallers so far include Bakkavor, down 1.1% to 101.5p and Greggs (GRG), down 0.1% to 2,012p.

This week in the City

There is a dearth of company news both at home and abroad ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The main point of interest will be the release of the monthly Kantar and Nielsen grocery market share figures on Tuesday morning.

Also this week, Tuesday brings the monthly CBI Industrial Trends Surveys, while the CBI Distributive Trades Surveys are published on Friday.