Sainsbury's sales rise led by its smaller stores

Justin King: "We've done a great job of getting the right product in front of our customers when they want to buy it"

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Sainsbury's has reported a rise in sales in the face of a "challenging market", led by its smaller convenience stores and online operation.

Its like-for-like sales excluding fuel - which pulls out the impact of new store openings - rose 1.4% in the three months to 9 June from a year earlier.

Total sales at its smaller stores grew 16%, while online sales jumped 20%.

Sainsbury's added it had seen "strong sales" in the run-up to the Diamond Jubilee weekend.

The figures come two days after the UK's largest supermarket group Tesco reported a fall in UK sales.

Tesco's like-for-like UK sales, excluding both petrol and VAT, declined by 1.5% in the 13 weeks to 26 May, although this time period did not cover the Jubilee weekend.

'Robust' numbers

Sainsbury's also said that it was continuing to see a big rise in non-food sales, and particularly those of clothes, which were growing faster than its main food business.

Chief executive Justin King said his company was "well placed to continue to outperform the market".

Phil Dorrell, director of retail consultants at Retail Remedy, said: "These robust Sainsbury's numbers are in stark contrast to those issued by Tesco earlier in the week. The two stores are going in entirely different directions.

"Whereas Tesco has become a jack of all trades, Sainsbury's has single-mindedly focused on British consumers and their shopping experience.

"This deliberately myopic strategy of concentrating on the UK and 'merely' delivering a positive grocery experience is working."

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