Sainsbury’s has reported underlying pre-tax profit up 7% to £400m for the 28 weeks to September 28, and total sales up 4.4% to £13.9bn.
Like-for-like sales for the half year including VAT, excluding petrol, were up 1.4%.
Sainsbury’s increased its market share to 16.8% – its highest for a decade – after completing 35 consecutive quarters of like-for-like sales growth.
It also completed a property review of its pipeline and will take a £92m hit as it identified some sites where it no longer wants to build a supermarket. The move mirrors that of Tesco earlier in the year.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King said: “Our share of the grocery market is the highest for a decade at 16.8% following 35 consecutive quarters of like-for-like sales growth. We are helping customers Live Well for Less through high-quality, affordable own-brand products, Brand Match, Nectar and targeted coupon-at-till promotions.
“Whilst customers’ budgets remain tight and any recovery in the economy may take time to take effect, our consistent strategy and strong values-driven culture mean we are well placed to continue to deliver for customers, colleagues and shareholders.”
Sainsbury’s said own brand is growing at more than twice the rate of branded goods. It said the relaunched By Sainsbury’s and Taste the Difference ranges are showing double-digit growth. Its value line, Basics, suffered marginal sales decline and it is in the process of relaunching the range.
A factory opened in September, dedicated to Sainsbury’s, to produce bespoke premium chilled desserts using only British ingredients.
General merchandise and clothing continue to grow at around twice the rate of food sales. In the period, it relaunched the Tu clothing brand and extended By Sainsbury’s into general merchandise.
Its online grocery operation is growing at over 15%, with more than £1bn in annualised sales and orders regularly over 180,000 a week. It has plans to open an online fulfilment centre at Bromley-by-Bow.
Convenience is growing at over 20%, opening around two new stores a week.
Sainsbury’s will create 16,000 seasonal jobs over the Christmas and New Year period.