Sainsbury’s Chief Executive’s Total Pay Reaches £5 Million Amid Profit Drop

6 June 2023

Simon Roberts’ remuneration package 229 times higher than average worker’s

Despite a decline in profits at Sainsbury’s, the company’s chief executive, Simon Roberts, received a total pay package amounting to nearly £5 million in cash and shares last year.

The pay package is a stark contrast to the challenges faced by shoppers, who are grappling with the highest rate of food price increases in over four decades, resulting in financial strain for many households.

Roberts’ annual pay package primarily consists of a £1.7 million bonus and £2.2 million in share awards. This substantial amount puts his earnings at 229 times that of the average worker at the retail chain.

Last month, Roberts refuted claims that the supermarket was profiting from high food prices, stating in an interview with the BBC that Sainsbury’s had “absolutely not” raised prices to bolster profits.

Sainsbury’s pre-tax profits dipped to £327 million in the year ending March 5, down from £854 million during the same period the previous year.

The company disclosed that Roberts received a 3.5% increase in his basic pay, bringing it to £899,000. However, this rise falls below the minimum 5.3% increase for the hourly-paid workers at the company. On average, a Sainsbury’s employee earns approximately £22,000 annually.

In total, Roberts’ remuneration amounted to £4.9 million, compared to £3.5 million the previous year. Sainsbury’s asserted that it had invested £560 million to mitigate price increases for consumers.

Nevertheless, Sharon Graham, general secretary at the Unite union, criticized the excessive bonus, stating, “The supermarkets have been protesting, claiming they’re not profiteering and contributing to the cost of living crisis. Meanwhile, people are paying the price at the tills. Simon Roberts’ bonanza bonus tells a very different story.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has expressed concern over the “worryingly high” food inflation and held discussions with food retailers to explore methods of curbing prices.

Retailers have assured that consumers will witness a difference at the checkout as global prices, such as energy costs, begin to decline. However, data from the Office for National Statistics reveals that food inflation remained stagnant at 19.3% in April, close to the record high of 19.6% from the previous month.

The substantial pay package for Roberts raises questions about income disparity within the company and whether such high remuneration aligns with the challenging economic conditions faced by customers.

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