Sainsbury’s has posted like-for-like sales excluding petrol up 0.9% for the 14 weeks to January 5, and delivered what it said was a record-breaking Christmas.

Total sales for its third quarter were up 3.3% excluding petrol.

Sainsbury’s said the week before Christmas was its strongest trading week ever, with customer transactions exceeding 27 million. It delivered a record-breaking £16m of sales in one hour between 12pm and 1pm on Sunday December 23 and reported its best ever Christmas Eve, at both its supermarkets and convenience stores, with over £100m of sales.

Sainsbury’s performance is ahead of rival Morrisons, which reported a 2.5% fall in like-for-like sales in the six weeks to December 30, but still shows a slower rate of growth from last Christmas, which was up 2.1% and in the second quarter, which was up 1.9%.

Chief executive Justin King said: “This Christmas we have helped more customers than ever to ‘Live Well for Less’, delivering another quarter of good sales in a challenging retail environment, increasing market share.”

However, he added: “We expect the challenging economic backdrop to persist, with customers looking to re-balance their household budget after the festivities and so spending cautiously in the first few months of 2013. By continuing to help our customers to ‘Live Well for Less’ through our ongoing commitment to great food, Brand Match, competitive pricing and targeted promotions via Nectar and coupon-at-till we are positioned to perform well over the next quarter.”

Sainsbury’s sales of own brand products are growing at three times the rate of brands and its core offer, By Sainsbury’s, is growing at nearly 5% year on year, the grocer said.

Twenty-two billion Nectar points worth over £110m were redeemed over Christmas.

Convenience stores grew at over 17% and its online business grew at over 15%. During its busiest week the grocer delivered 200,000 food orders, which it said is a record. Of general merchandise orders, 60% were collected via click-and-collect.

Clothing performed well, the grocer said, growing at over 10% year on year, driven by investment in core ranges across women’s, men’s and kids’ and several profitable promotions. Sales growth of small electricals such as toasters and kettles was over 24% year on year, and cookware is growing at nearly 15% year on year.

Sainsbury’s added six supermarkets, five extensions and 19 convenience stores in the quarter.