Sainsbury’s has posted like-for-like sales growth of 4.6% for the past three months – down from the 7% rate of the previous quarter.

Weekly transactions at Sainsbury’s now exceed 18.5 million – up more than 800,000 on this time last year. But the retailer warned that the slowdown in growth would continue.

"We expect market growth to slow in the coming months due to reduced inflation," the supermarket said in its latest trading update.

Chief executive Justin King (pictured) said retailers would continue to suffer. "We're going to see taxes going up, VAT is going up in January, so I think it's too early to call the turn for ever,” King told the BBC.

He said non-food sales were growing at nearly three times the rate of food, while a marketing push for the chain’s financial services arm was also proving successful.

Yesterday Tesco announced like-for-like sales growth of 2.7% for the six months to 29 August.