British supermarket chain J Sainsbury’s has posted 3.6% growth in the first quarter total sales, amid challenging UK high street trading conditions.
Like-for-like sales grew 1.4% in the 12 weeks ending 9 June 2012, but it represents a decline in sales growth compared to the previous quarter.
Sainsbury’s chief executive officer Justin King said the firm delivered good sales growth in the quarter and helped its customers manage weekly budgets and celebrate special occasions.
"Customers continued the habit of savvy shopping to save money in order to be able to treat themselves on special occasions, shown by strong sales in the lead up to the Jubilee celebrations," King added.
"Just as in 2011, the quarter was characterised by five bank holidays, a royal event and periods of unseasonal weather. Consistent performance year-on-year puts our two year like-for-like sales growth at 3.3 per cent.
"Our own label ranges are leading the way in helping customers to Live Well for Less, with the relaunch of by Sainsbury’s now 75 per cent complete. Over 70 per cent of these products are completely new or redeveloped."
King said that the company is gaining market share in its core general merchandise and clothing categories.
Non-food at Sainsbury’s continued to grow faster than food and the quarter saw the strongest ever sales week on clothing.
"Our convenience stores continue to be a strong driver for growth for the business, achieving year-on- year sales growth of 16 per cent, King added.
"Our online business grew by over 20 per cent, with an improved website enabling customers to order easily from handheld devices while on the move.
"We grew space in line with our plans, adding 63,000 sq ft of gross space to our estate through the opening of 21 convenience stores and one extension. We also refurbished eight stores over the quarter."
Image: Sainsbury’s head office in Holborn Circus, London. Photo: J Sainsbury plc