British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has reported that its retail sales for the fiscal year 2022 (FY22), including sales of fuel, increased by 3.4% year-on-year.

Excluding sales of fuel, the company’s sales fell by 2.6% from the fiscal year 2021 (FY21).

During the 52 weeks to 5 March, the retailer’s like-for-like (LFL) sales, excluding fuel, declined by 2.3% from the previous year. Including fuel, its LFL sales were up by 3.6%.

Sainsbury’s grocery sales fell by 0.2% compared with FY21 but increased by 7.6% over FY20.

Sales of the company’s general merchandise dropped by 11.9% and 4.6% over FY21 and FY20 respectively, while sales of its clothing rose by 12.7% in FY22.

The retailer posted an underlying profit before tax of £730m ($913.23m), up by 104% from FY21.

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Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts said: “In a year of unprecedented change, we have been relentlessly focused on putting customers and colleagues first while delivering the first year of our plan to put food back at the heart of Sainsbury’s.

“We said we would invest in value, innovation and service, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

“We have outperformed key competitors on both a one and two-year basis while also delivering strong underlying profit growth, improved returns and consistent retail free cash flow.

“This gives us a strong foundation to keep building momentum in the year ahead.”

For FY23, Sainsbury’s has forecast its underlying profit before tax to be between £630m and £690m.

The company said it expects ‘significant external pressures and uncertainties’ to impact its operations over the next 12 months.

In November last year, Sainsbury’s launched its first contactless and checkout-free convenience store, SmartShop Pick & Go, in Holborn Circus, London.

The store uses Sainsbury’s SmartShop mobile app in conjunction with Amazon’s Just Walk Out cashierless technology.