Sainsbury's reports 'record' Christmas sales
Sainsbury's has reported its "best ever" Christmas sales despite what it called the "challenging weather conditions".
Like-for-like sales excluding petrol, which strip out the effect of sales from new stores, rose by 3.6% in the 14 weeks to 8 January from a year earlier.
The UK's third-largest supermarket chain said non-food sales had grown particularly strongly.
The group said it had created nearly 6,000 new jobs over the period.
Earlier this week, it said it aimed to create 20,000 jobs over the next three years.
"Our strategy of providing universal customer appeal through great food at fair prices has helped Sainsbury's to deliver its best-ever Christmas," said the group's chief executive Justin King.
He added that Sainsbury's had increased its market share slightly to 16.6%.
Transactions made during the week of Christmas hit an "all-time high" of 24.5 million, the group said.
It also reported "record" online orders for groceries and said it had seen "strong growth" in sales of home and electrical wares.
Sales of lingerie and clothing accessories jumped by 45%, it added.
"Additional promotion of its higher margin products, along with the weather conditions tempting shoppers to buy more in fewer trips, played into the company's hands such that its performance could yet prove to be the best of the big four [supermarkets]," said Richard Hunter at broker Hargreaves Lansdown.
Research released earlier this week from data provider Kantar Worldpanel, formerly TNS Worldpanel, indicated that Sainsbury's was the only one of the UK's big four supermarkets to increase its market share in the three months preceding Christmas.