• Like-for-likes inch up 0.1% in nine weeks to March 12 
  • Total sales rise 1.2%
  • Online sales up 14%
  • Deadline looms for Home Retail bid

Sainsbury’s has revealed a 0.1% rise in like-for-likes for its fourth quarter, while online sales surged 14% over the period.

It was the first rise in like-for-likes in more than two years for the grocer.

Sainsbury’s total sales, excluding fuel, grew 1.2% in the nine weeks to March 12. Volumes grew in the quarter, but no further detail was disclosed.

Chief executive Mike Coupe branded it a “strong performance” and said the grocer had maintained its market share in the quarter.

But he warned: “The market will remain competitive as food deflation continues to impact sales growth.”

Sainsbury’s made no mention of its bid for Home Retail. The deadline for both the supermarket and South African retailer Steinhoff to reveal their bids for the Argos owner is Friday.

Sainsbury’s clothing sales shot up just over 10% during the quarter while entertainment sales rose nearly 11%.

Including fuel, like-for-likes dropped 0.4% while total sales rose just 0.5%.

Online grocery sales rose 14%, while ecommerce orders rose by around 19%.

Coupe added that the grocer continued to reduce the level of promotions. He said: ”Our promotional participation levels continue to reduce year on year, running at an average of 28% for the quarter.

”Customers have told us that multi-buy promotions do not meet their shopping needs today. They are often viewed as confusing, create storage challenges and unnecessary waste.”

Sainsbury’s will phase out the majority of its grocery multibuy offers by August this year.

Coupe added: “We are confident that we will continue to outperform our major peers.”

At the end of the quarter, Sainsbury’s had 601 supermarkets and 773 convenience stores. It built 69 convenience stores over the period.