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British supermarket chain J Sainsbury has posted a 6.8% increase in total sales to £24.15bn in the 52-week period ended 17 March 2012, compared to £22.94bn in the same period last year.

Total sales, excluding fuel, were up 4.5% in the reporting period, while like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, advanced 2.1% in the same period.

Underlying profit before tax grew 7.1% to £712m from £665m, whereas profit before tax was down 3.4% to £799m from £827m.

The UK-based grocery retailer may scale back new retail space growth in the coming year as it reported a decrease in full-year net profit.

Revenue, including fuel, increased 5.6% to £22.3bn in the 52-week period, compared to £21.10bn in the corresponding period a year earlier.

J Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King said the firm is succeeding by understanding what its customers want, supporting and inspiring them to Live Well For Less.

"Brand Match, combined with our use of coupon-at-till, has improved Sainsbury’s price perception whilst retaining the benefits of our heritage in quality and service," King said.

"We have continued to invest in the future of the business, including opening a further 1.4 million sq ft of gross space, whilst managing costs and increasing net underlying margins.

"Whilst the wider economic situation remains uncertain, we remain confident that our clear strategy, market insight and strong values will enable us to make further progress both in our core food and non-food businesses, as well as new channels and services in the year ahead."

The group said its £1.3bn convenience business is growing in total and like-for-like sales are well ahead of the market.

Sainsbury’s has added 19 new supermarkets, 73 convenience stores and 28 store extensions, taking property value to £11.2bn.

Founded in 1869, J Sainsbury currently operates a total of 934 stores comprising 557 supermarkets and 377 convenience stores.

Image: Total sales increased 4.5% in the full-year, while like-for-like sales advanced 2.1% in the same period. Photo: J Sainsbury’s plc