LONDON, May 3 (Reuters) - British supermarket Sainsbury's on Wednesday reported a third straight year of underlying profit decline, despite the boost to earnings from last year's purchase of Argos, the general merchandise retailer.
Sainsbury's, which trails market leader Tesco in annual sales, made an underlying pretax profit of 581 million pounds ($749.3 million) in the year to March 11.
That was ahead of analysts' average forecast of 578 million pounds but down from 587 million pounds made in 2015-16.
Sainsbury's said the outcome reflected price cuts and cost inflation, offset by cost savings of 130 million pounds and a contribution from Argos of 77 million pounds.
"The market remains competitive and the impact of cost price pressures remains uncertain. However, we are well placed to navigate the external environment and we remain focused on delivering our strategy," said Chief Executive Mike Coupe. ($1 = 0.7754 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)