Sainsbury’s has announced a 17.5% rise in pre-tax profits for the past year, citing improved savings on costs and a million new customers a week over last year.

Profits hit £610m for the past 12 months, up from the previous year’s mark of £519m.

Like-for-like sales rose by 4.3% for the year to 20 March, with total sales excluding fuel up 6.7%.

Overall revenues hit £21.42bn.

Chief executive Justin King (pictured) said the supermarket was serving a million more customers a week than a year ago and called the hike in profits “a good performance in difficult trading times”.

"Sainsbury's has outperformed [the market] because we continue to lead on providing healthy, fresh and tasty food with universal appeal,” King said.

“Customers recognise the progress we have made in ‘Making Sainsbury’s Great Again’ and we now serve on average over 19 million customers each week.”

The chain added 1.1 million sq ft of retail space to its estate and had spent £900m on capital investment over the year.

It was also revealed that Sainsbury’s 127,000 staff would share in a bonus pot worth £80m, averaging around £630 per worker.

Meanwhile, the supermarket said it would shift property assets worth £750m towards addressing its pension deficit, which had spiralled to £1.2bn by March 2009.

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