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Vuvuzelas selling above expectation

LONDON, Jun 16 – British supermarket chain Sainsbury said on Wednesday that its World Cup goods — and vuvuzela plastic horns — are selling very well, but reported slowing group sales in the first quarter.

"Our World Cup range is selling well and our Vuvuzela horns are a \’must have\’ item for football fans," Chief Executive Justin King said in a trading update.

So far, the retailer has sold more than 40,000 England-branded vuvuzelas, according to a company spokesman. The plastic horns cost two pounds (2.4 euros, 2.9 dollars) each.

Sainsbury expects to sell around 75,000 vuvuzelas in Britain over the course of the tournament.

The monotone sound of the horns blown by supporters at matches in South Africa, have become an unofficial soundtrack to the World Cup — but have attracted criticism from broadcasters and some players who complain they cannot hear their teammates\’ shouts or the referee\’s whistle.

Sainsbury said earlier this week it was selling one vuvuzela every two seconds on Saturday, when England played the United States in a game which ended 1-1 after a blunder from England goalkeeper Robert Green gifted the Americans the equaliser.

The British supermarket giant added Wednesday that the group\’s total sales excluding petrol, and on a like-for-like basis which strips out the effect of new floor space, rose 1.1 percent in the 12 weeks to June 12.

That compared with growth of 7.0 percent in the first quarter of the group\’s previous financial year.

"We\’ve delivered another good performance ahead of the market on top of strong growth last year," added King.

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"While we continue to expect the consumer environment to remain challenging, our universal customer appeal, unique loyalty offer and accelerated growth strategy mean we are well placed to make continued good progress."

Sainsbury\’s is the third biggest supermarket chain in Britain after Wal-Mart owned Asda and the country\’s largest retailer Tesco.

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