Sainsbury's has reported a 3.4% increase in first-quarter like-for-like sales, excluding fuel.

The growth was lower than the 4.1% recorded by the supermarket chain in the previous quarter, and lower than Tesco which last week posted a 3.5% increase in like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, for the 13 weeks to 24 May.

Sainsbury's said total sales rose 8.1% in the 12 weeks to 4 June, or by 4.5% excluding fuel.

It had enhanced its promotional offer during the quarter with clear and simple deals, and expanded its value range 'Basics', which had shown strong sales growth.

The economic environment had continued to be challenging during the period, said CEO Justin King, who added: “While we anticipate that the environment will remain challenging, we operate from a strong financial position and our expectations for the full year remain unchanged.”

Non-food continued to grow strongly, King added, and the retailer had expanded its ranges and introduced them into new and extended stores.