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Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe to step down in May | Business


Sainsbury’s has announced that its chief executive, Mike Coupe, will retire in May after six years in charge of the UK’s second largest supermarket chain.

Coupe, 59, will be succeeded by the grocer’s retail and operations director, Simon Roberts. Sainsbury’s outgoing boss has faced questions about his future since April when the competition regulator blocked Sainsbury’s attempt to take over Walmart-owned rival Asda for £7.3bn. Coupe was the architect of that deal and Sainsbury’s share price has fallen 22% over the past year.

Roberts, a former managing director of the health and beauty retailer Boots, joined Sainsbury’s in 2017.

“Simon has been extremely effective during his three years at Sainsbury’s, leading our store teams through great change in that time,” said Martin Scicluna, Sainsbury’s chairman.

“Simon is a dedicated, determined and enthusiastic champion of the customer and of our colleagues and has overseen sustained improvements in our competitiveness during his time so far.”

His appointment to one of the most high-profile jobs in British retail raises the question of whether he will further adapt Sainsbury’s strategy that was set out in September and was designed to show the group could prosper on its own.

Sainsbury’s profit is forecast to fall in its 2019-20 year.

Roberts’ task will be to grow earnings in the face of softening consumer demand and the relentless march of the German-owned discounters Aldi and Lidl, who continue to aggressively open new space and win market share.

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