An analyst has warned that UK supermarket chain J Sainsbury could experience a £39m (US$61.4m) loss of profit as a result of its surging pension shortfall.

Falling financial markets together with increased life expectancy have caused deficits in pension funds.

Sainsbury has dismissed the comments by David McCarthy, analyst at Schroder Salomon Smith Barney, as pure speculation. The company has announced a £19m amortisation of a surplus in pension funds in this year's annual report, due to falling stock markets, reported the Financial Times.

McCarthy predicts that Sainsbury will also have to raise pension contributions by £20m in the next financial year, making a total decrease in profit of £39m.

Sainsbury, which is not accepting new entrants to its final salary pension scheme, declined to comment on the calculations, which it said were speculative.