Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King has issued a gloomy outlook on consumer confidence in the UK.

In an interview with the Financial Times yesterday (14 September), King said that consumer sentiment was the worst it has ever been going into Christmas.

King said that customers believed "things are worse than they really are" and are changing their shopping habits as a consequence.

"The business environment is tough [but] there have probably been Christmases in the last 20 years which were right into the middle and teeth of not just a technical recession but four, five, six quarters of recession," said King.

"But if you are asking about whether sentiment is worse than it has ever been, yes I think it is," he said.

In an effort to cash in on consumer's shaky confidence in the economy, Sainsbury's is looking to grow own-label sales.

The company has launched a marketing campaign that will run through the autumn, a spokesperson for Sainsbury's told just-food today (15 September).

"We're seeing consumers switch to own-brand, so the campaign really highlights that trend in terms of what customers are doing and the benefits of own-brand - quality and value," the spokesperson said. "In the ads we talk about things like cereal and soft cheese being as good as the leading brands but at a fraction of the price."

Sainsbury's has also introduced about 20 new Basics products to its produce line, the spokesperson added.