Sainsbury's sales cheer

Sainsbury's has reported a robust sales growth over the festive season.

The supermarket group said it was "pleased" with the performance, which saw like-for-like sales for the 12 weeks to 30 December, excluding fuel, rise by 5%

It achieved record sales in the week before Christmas, and online sales in Christmas week alone rose by more than 60%.

Justin King, chief executive, said the sales figures showed the retailers recovery was still firmly on track.

Including fuel, like-for-like sales were up 4.2%. Total sales for the quarter rose 5.8%, and were up 6.8% when fuel was excluded.

Sainsbury's said it saw strong sales of its premium and organic products, with its Taste the Difference own-brand range seeing growth of about 20%.

Sainsbury's is the second supermarket to report record pre-Christmas sales.

On Wednesday, Morrisons said it had enjoyed record sales in the week before Christmas, helping like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 7 January rise 6.3% on a year ago.