Finance

Sainsbury's boss Mike Coupe defends his £3.9m pay package as grocer unveils a further fall in sales


Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe defends his £3.9m pay package as grocer unveils a further fall in sales

Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe defended his £3.9m pay package as the grocer unveiled a further fall in sales.

Coupe, 58, insisted his wages are in line with the supermarket’s financial performance, in a year when it spent £46m on fees and other costs during a botched merger bid with Asda.

It came as Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis attempted to justify his own pay award.

Under pressure: Mike Coupe insisted his wages are in line with the supermarket's financial performance

Under pressure: Mike Coupe insisted his wages are in line with the supermarket’s financial performance

Sainsbury’s yesterday posted a 1.6 per cent drop in sales for the 16 weeks to June 29. It struggled with one of the wettest Junes on record, which dampened sales of paddling pools and other summer products.

Coupe now faces a backlash at Sainsbury’s general meeting today, after shareholder advice firm Pirc urged investors to vote against the £3.9m payment, a 7 per cent rise on a year earlier.

Asked whether his pay had increased in line with Sainsbury’s financial performance, Coupe said: ‘Absolutely. My pay is set by a remuneration committee. I’m set a series of targets at the beginning of any financial year and my performance and the business’s targets are what determines my overall package.’ The latest fall in sales compares with a 0.9 per cent drop in the previous three months.

Coupe said soaring temperatures, the men’s football World Cup and the Royal Wedding a year earlier meant it had been tougher to grow comparable sales. Its shares are close to record lows after the Competition and Markets Authority blocked a tie-up with Asda.

Coupe has come under fire for pursuing the merger, with some critics warning his future at the grocer is at risk.

Separately, Lewis, 54, was asked whether his £4.6m award at Tesco is fair as the grocer prepares to axe as many as 9,000 jobs to cut costs.

He said: ‘We have to respect the market, we have to respect that skills command a certain amount of return in the marketplace and we’re very happy with market forces driving the way we think about remuneration.’

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