Sainsbury’s has reported a “record-breaking” Christmas with non-food and its online business proving particularly strong.

Like-for-like sales rose 2.1% excluding petrol in the 14 weeks to January 8 on last year. Total sales for third quarter were up 4.5% excluding fuel.

The retailer reported a strong increase in its online grocery trading with sales rising 20% over the festive season.

The number of customer transactions at the retailer was up 1.5 million on last year, rising to 26 million in the week to Christmas. 

Christmas week was Sainsbury’s strongest for its Click and Collect offer, with almost 75% of online general merchandise orders at Christmas made via this channel.

Convenience sales grew by almost 25%, driven by new space and strong like-for-like sales growth.

Gok Wan’s range of party wear and half-price promotions on toys drove non-food sales over the Christmas period despite “testing market conditions”.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King said: “This was a strong quarter, rounded off by our best Christmas ever, despite the economic backdrop.

“We expect customers to spend cautiously in 2012, particularly in the first few months as they tighten their belts post Christmas.”

King said the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, provide opportunities for growth.