Focus on fundamentals and agility in fast-changing trading conditions helped Sainsbury’s notch up an 11 per cent profits rise and fourth consecutive year of like-for-like growth.

The retailer reported full-year underlying profit before tax of £543m on sales up 5.7 per cent to £20.38bn. Like-for-likes, excluding fuel, advanced 4.5 per cent. At the pre-tax level, profits were down from £479m to £466m as a result of changes in property values.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King said: “Our business is growing because we have responded quickly and effectively to a rapidly changing environment.

“Fixing fundamental parts of our operation through our Making Sainsbury’s Great Again recovery programme has placed the business in a strong position.”

He said the retailer’s brand heritage, price architecture and product quality had helped boost basket size and increase customer transactions to more than 18m per week and that Sainsbury’s was “well positioned to continue our good progress”.

As Sainsbury’s shifts from its phase of recovery to growth, King said all five areas of focus so far continue to offer great potential in future: “These are to build and stretch our lead in food, accelerate the development of non-food ranges and services, extend the reach of our brand via our online and convenience offers and, to grow our store estate and actively manage our property assets.”

Last year more than 40 per cent of Sainsbury’s customers bought from its Tu clothing range. Non-food will be launched online in the first half of this year. Fifty convenience stores will open this year and 100 next.