Sainsbury’s has reported a “record” Christmas sales period, with rising customer numbers and strong trading across non-food ranges offsetting lower food price inflation.

In a third-quarter trading update issued this morning, Sainsbury’s has announced a total sales growth of 6.2% with like-for-like sales - excluding new store openings and fuel - up 3.7%.

An extra one million more shoppers per week were served over the quarter, with a record 24 million walking through its doors in the seven days up to and including Christmas Eve. The supermarket’s non-food offering also fared well, with sales growing over four times the rate of food.

“The business continues to perform well in what remains a challenging consumer environment,” said chief executive Justin King. “Our universal customer appeal, together with our accelerated growth plans, means we are well placed to make continued good progress in 2010.”