Sainsbury’s updated the City on its third quarter trading today, covering the crucial festive period, but the media had other pressing questions to ask boss Justin King.

On a conference call for hacks, King found himself fielding question after question about whether he was planning to step down as CEO.

In fact, the very first question asked was not about the slowdown in Sainsbury’s like-for-like sales to 0.9% - the lowest in 33 quarters - but what his future plans were.

King, who has persistently said that he wants to remain at the helm of the supermarket chain for the long-term, reiterated this again.

In a statement he had to repeat many times, he said: “I see myself here for the long-term so if you see yourself in your role this time next year, I look forward to reporting on next Christmas with you”.

It is no wonder that speculation has been rife about King’s future. He has been at the helm now for the past nine years and is the longest-serving boss of all the big four - including Tesco which is expected to confirm COO Chris Bush as its new UK MD tomorrow.

King may be bored of the speculation, but you can bet the media isn’t, and you can bet that we won’t have heard the last of it this year.

For a full analysis of Sainsbury’s results and an interview with commercial director Mike Coupe, see this Saturday’s issue of The Grocer.