UK

Sainsbury's sales rise despite 'challenging' trading

Sainsbury's store in east London
Image caption Sainsbury's said its results showed the firm was continuing to perform well

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%.

Expansion

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.

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Media captionSainsbury's has come under the spotlight for its packaging

"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."

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