J Sainsbury Lifts Dividend by 7%

LONDON -- The shares of J Sainsbury (ISE: SBRY.L) (NASDAQOTH: JSAIY) have slipped 2.25% in London trading despite the supermarket revealing a 7% lift to its half-year dividend.

The payout news came alongside interim results showing that underlying profit at the FTSE 100 member was up 5% to 373 million pounds. Sainsbury said its total sales advanced 4% to 13.4 billion pounds during the six months to September, with like-for-like sales improving 1.7% to notch up 31 consecutive quarters of underlying sales growth. The supermarket also claimed it had outperformed its rivals during the half year and that its 16.7% market share was now the firm's highest for nearly a decade.

The group's own labels helped the performance, with the "Taste the Difference" food range advancing its sales by 10% and the Tu clothing range scoring its best sales day ever.

David Tyler, the chairman of Sainsbury, said, "Sainsbury's has made a strong start to the year, delivering continued outperformance in what has remained a challenging market."

Justin King, the group's chief executive, added: "We continue to succeed by remaining focused on delivering quality products, best-in-class service and value for our customers, without compromise. ... Our long-standing consistent strategy, combined with our customer insight and strong value-driven culture, will continue to deliver for customers, colleagues and shareholders."

Prior to today, City experts reckoned current-year earnings could top 29 pence per share and that its 12-month dividend may be nearly 17 pence per share. Such projections suggest the shares trade at less than 12 times possible profit and offer a potential income of almost 5%.

Supported by today's dividend lift, Sainsbury looks to be one of a number of FTSE large caps that provide a payout income well ahead of what you can expect to receive from a standard savings account. If you are seeking other high-dividend possibilities, this special free report reviews the favorite income stocks held by Neil Woodford -- the City fund manager who thrashed the FTSE 100 during the 15 years to 2011 by favoring dividend-paying blue chips. Just click here to download these Neil Woodford share ideas today.

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