Sainsbury posted a 16.8% rise in full-year pre-tax profit on the back of its cost saving programme but like-for-like sales have fallen short of its close rivals.

For the year to March 29 like-for-like sales growth at Sainsbury supermarkets was up 2.3%, including petrol, while total turnover rose 3% to £15.3bn.

Group pre-tax profit rose to £667m from £571m while turnover increased 1.6% to £18.5bn

Sainsbury said that its final quarter soft in the UK and that it plans to employ a further 10,000 staff to scan and pack bags in order to improve customer services and sales.

And it warned that this year’s second quarter would be hard pressed to beat last year’s “outstanding performance” on the back of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebration and the World Cup.

Sainsbury said it would achieve some £700m in efficiencies by the end of this financial year and will exceed that total by £10m.

The group said capital expenditure on store upgrades and new supermarkets in the UK peaked and it will spend £800m over the next 12 months compared with £1.04bn last year.

At its US operation Shaw’s supermarkets sales rose 1.25 to $4.4m with like-for-like sales up 0.9%.