Sainsbury's sales rise despite 'challenging' trading
Sainsbury's has reported an increase in half-year sales, saying it is continuing to perform strongly despite "challenging" trading conditions.
For the six months to 2 October, its like-for-like sales excluding fuel - which ignore the impact of new stores - increased by 2%.
For the most recent three months, its sales under the same measure rose 2.9%.
The trading update comes a day after Tesco said its half-year, like-for-like non-petrol UK sales rose by 1.2%.
Sainsbury's said its smaller convenience stores had continued to perform well, and were now achieving annual sales of £1bn.
It added that its online sales were also still rising strongly.
The supermarket group is also continuing to add new stores, while extending a number of its existing outlets.
Chief executive Justin King said Sainsbury's had delivered "another strong performance".
He told the BBC: "If you do a great job for customers, give them that combination they're looking for, value for money but also the quality they expect, then you can continue to entice them to spend.
"2.9% is a good step up from our first quarter and a good bit better than all of our competitors at the moment, so I think we're demonstrating we are doing a great job for customers in these challenging times."
Sainsbury's total sales were up 7% for the half-year, and by 6.6% for the second quarter.
Tesco's total sales for its half-year were up 8.3%, and its half-year pre-tax profits were up 12.5% to £1.6bn.
Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at stockbrokers Hargreaves Lansdown, said the latest figures from Sainsbury's "generally outpaced expectations".
He added: "The company is, of course, mindful of the consumer challenges ahead, but maintains it is well placed to weather the economic storm given its propensity for value offerings."