Shares in Sainsbury rose 5.25p to finish on 332.25p yesterday as the supermarket group released details of a fifth consecutive quarter of growth.

The retailer recorded a 5.3% increase in fourth-quarter like-for-like sales excluding petrol and total sales for the quarter up 6.7%, or 6.5% excluding petrol.

A number of analysts raised their profit forecasts by about £5m for the year to March 31 to £265m on the news.

Jonathan Pritchard from Oriel Securities said: “That a major player is doing 5.3% makes it almost mathematically impossible that Tesco isn't losing out. There is a massive latent customer base that were disenfranchised from Sainsbury for at least ten years by poor availability, but they have started to come back.”

Steve Davies from Numis said: “Sainsbury is very much in the sweet spot of food retailing at the moment.”

Philip Dorgan, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, added that the figures released by Sainsbury were “miles ahead of expectation”.