Sainsbury’s reported an increase in sales and like-for-like growth in the second quarter aided by its Paralympic sponsorship.

The grocer said like-for-like sales in the 16 weeks to September 29 rose 0.9% excluding store extensions and VAT, while total sales rose 3.4% on the same basis.

Sainsbury’s first-half sales rose 3.3% and like-for-likes climbed 0.9%.

Chief executive Justin King said a “unique and special summer” had driven sales as shoppers celebrated the key sporting events.

Sainsbury’s said non-food growth is now three times that of food, bucking wider market trends, albeit from a lower base than rival Tesco.

The successful launch of its Denim Shop format and strong sales of schoolwear had driven non-food growth, the grocer said.

Sainsbury’s opened 49 convenience stores in the half and said it is on target to open one to two stores per week. It added: “Our online business continues to perform strongly, with growth of over 20% year on year.”

Over the quarter, Sainsbury’s opened five supermarkets, 28 convenience stores and two extensions, adding 267,000 sq ft to its estate.

King said: “The quarter began with the period immediately following the Jubilee celebrations, and was characterised by unseasonal weather. The quarter ended with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which united and inspired the nation. We were delighted to play our part in helping customers celebrate this summer like no other, and are particularly proud of Sainsbury’s association with the Paralympic Games.

“We are seeing the benefit of our ongoing investment in our own-label ranges, particularly by Sainsbury’s, which is growing at its strongest rate in recent years, and our Taste The Difference range, which is seeing near double-digit growth. Our own-label penetration is increasing at a faster rate than any of the major supermarkets; a testament to the investment we have made in the quality of our products.”

He added: “We expect the challenging economic backdrop to persist, but by helping our customers to Live Well For Less through competitive pricing, targeted promotions, quality own-label products and outstanding customer service, we are positioned to perform well coming into the important Christmas period.”

Sainsbury’s said its Brand Match coupon at till initiative had driven shoppers into stores. However, it has been ordered to change its Brand Match campaign by the Advertising Standards Agency, which found it misled consumers over the finer details of the campaign after 20 complaints, including from Tesco. The grocer said it has already changed the advert.

Sainsbury's like-for-likes grow after 'unique' summer