Sainsbury's sales rise 2% helped by convenience stores

Justin King: "We're seeing a very different shopping behaviour than we saw five years ago"

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Sainsbury's has seen another rise in quarterly sales, driven by growth at local convenience stores and online.

The supermarket said that like-for-like sales - excluding fuel - in the quarter to 28 September rose 2%.

But chief executive Justin King said the market remained tough despite "some encouraging" signs for the UK economy as a whole.

Also on Wednesday, Tesco reported a 23.5% drop in profits for the first half of its financial year.

Sainsbury's online grocery sales rose by more than 15% in its second quarter, while convenience store sales rose 20%.

The supermarket group, whose market share stands at 16.6%, said its sales growth had been boosted by its "Brand Match" pricing initiative and growth in own-brand products.

Market researcher Kantar Worldpanel said recently that Sainsbury was the only one of Britain's "big four" grocers to increase its market share over the last year.

Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said: "Sainsbury continues to benefit from its UK focused, quality value consumer proposition. The group's arms length distance from the discount retailers remains appealing to consumers happy to reward themselves with smaller quality treats, as spending on larger items continues to be restrained.

"Both its online and convenience store channels offer alternatives to time stretched consumers, whilst its emphasis on clothing in the general merchandise arena has to date been rewarded."

Shares in Sainsbury, up 13% over the last year, were down 1% in early trading.

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