Sainsbury's has reported its best ever Christmas, with like-for-like sales up 4.5 per cent excluding fuel in the 13 weeks to January 3.

Total sales were up 5.3 per cent excluding fuel, and the grocer said 22.6 million customers had visited its stores in the seven days before Christmas. December 23 was the biggest ever trading day in the retailer's history.

Reflecting the economic climate, Sainsbury's Basics range showed the highest growth over the quarter, with sales up 40 per cent year on year. Chief executive Justin King said the Switch and Save campaign, which encourages shoppers to switch from branded goods to own-brand, had helped growth in own-brand ranges.

King said that non-food ranges showed "good growth over the quarter", particularly the Tu fashion range. Sainsbury's is now the UK's eighth largest fashion retailer by volume with 2.3 per cent market share.