Sainsbury’s has revealed like-for-like sales up 6.2 per cent, excluding petrol, in its fourth quarter as its “universal appeal” continues to draw in customers.

For the 11 weeks to 21 March, total sales were up 6.8 per cent, excluding petrol. In its second half, like for like sales are up 5.3 per cent, excluding petrol.

Chief executive Justin King said: “These sales reflect the strength and resilience of the Sainsbury’s brand as we have continued to develop our offer to help customers get the best value from their household budgets.”

He added: “Our work on providing universal customer appeal through continued investment in price, quality and a broader product range has been well received and is evident in the sales announced today. We are serving more customers with more items as both transactions and basket size have increased year on year.”

Sainsbury’s said it is seeing significant changes in the mix of products customers are buying. Its January Switch & Save campaign focused on its entry price point Basics range, sales of which are up over 60 per cent year on year.

King added: “While customers are looking to economise they are increasingly concerned about ethical issues. We have worked hard to provide this in our delivery of universal appeal. In January, we doubled our range of higher welfare pork and all our own-brand pork sausages, including ‘basics’, are made from British meat.”

Sainsbury’s participation in Red Nose Day on March 13 contributed an estimated 0.3 per cent to sales growth in the quarter. Its customers and staff helped it donate over£10m to Comic Relief.

King said non-food sales continue to grow strongly, and its market share in clothing has grown, and is now available in 290 stores. It has accelerated its roll out of Tu Home and its online home shopping service reported sales growth of over 20 per cent in the quarter.

King said: “We expect the current economic environment to remain challenging but our focus on delivering universal appeal through great products at fair prices means we are well positioned to continue our good progress.”