Sainsbury’s has posted like-for-like sales growth of 1.9% for the past six months, excluding fuel.

Total sales at the supermarket were up 7.6% to £12.8bn, or by 4.3% excluding fuel, in the 28 weeks to 1 October. Underlying pre-tax profits rose 6.6% to £354m.

Chief executive Justin King said the increases were down to “continued hard work to help our customers cope with the tough economic climate”.

“They are recognising our efforts we are making to help them manage their budgets and to ‘Live Well For Less’,” he said. “This is reflected in our customer visits, with transactions up almost one million [a week] on last year, to nearly 22 million a week.”

But he warned that the soaring cost of fuel meant customers were continuing to spend less on their weekly grocery shop.

“By purchasing fewer items on each shopping trip and doing more top-up shopping, customers are not only demonstrating a desire to keep a tight rein on budgets but also to reduce food waste,” added King.

In the past six months Sainsbury’s has launched a new strapline, Live Well For Less, a Feed Your Family for £50 meal planner and an ambitious sustainability plan dubbed ‘20 by 20’.

Last week it revealed David Beckham would front its Active Kids and Paralympics sponsorship. TV chef Jamie Oliver will part company with Sainsbury’s at the end of the year, drawing a line under a partnership that has endured for the past 11 years.

Read more
Editor's Comment: Justin King isn’t dead, but there's a new king at Sainsbury’s (4 November 2011)
Sainsbury’s bags Beckham to take over from Oliver (3 November 2011)
It may be cool, but how much of a gamble is Brand Match? (analysis; 15 October 2011)