Sainsbury’s has kept pace with rival Tesco after posting a rise in second-half sales of almost 4%.

Like-for-like sales excluding fuel were up by 4.3% for the quarter, contributing to a rise of 3.9% for the past six months.

Total sales for the quarter, including fuel, rose by more than 8% over the equivalent three-month period last year, thanks in part to inflation. Online sales, meanwhile, surged by 25% over the quarter.

“This is a good result and, given the current environment, shows how the strength and broad appeal of the Sainsbury's brand has improved substantially during the past four years,” said chief executive Justin King.

“Like-for-like sales growth, excluding fuel, of 4.3% over the summer quarter and 3.9% for the first half demonstrates that Sainsbury's universal offer is meeting our customers’ expectations for great quality and excellent value. We continue to drive improvements throughout the business and our service measures demonstrate that we continue to do a great job for our customers.”

The news comes after Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket retailer, last week unveiled first-half sales growth of 3.7% on a like-for-like basis, in what boss Sir Terry Leahy called “a pretty solid performance”.

Sainsbury’s will confirm its first-half results on 12 November.