Sainsbury’s has reported a record Christmas with like-for-like sales excluding petrol up 3.6% for its third quarter in the 14 weeks to January 8.

Total sales were up 6% excluding petrol. Over two years its like-for-like sales growth is up 7.4% excluding petrol.

Over the Christmas week, Sainsbury’s said it recorded an all time high with more than 24.5 million transactions.

Justin King, chief executive, said: “Our strategy of providing universal customer appeal through great food at fair prices has helped Sainsbury’s to deliver its best-ever Christmas resulting in like-for-like sales growth for the quarter, excluding fuel, of 3.6 per cent. We are delighted that we delivered a record Christmas performance and have grown market share over the quarter, up 0.3 per cent to 16.6 per cent.

In the Kantar figures, Sainsbury’s also overtook Asda as Britain’s second biggest supermarket by market share in the four weeks to Christmas for the first time in seven years. The data shows Sainsbury’s recorded a 16.6% share, compared with Asda’s 16.5%.

Sainsbury’s also beat rival Morrisons’ Christmas update on Monday. Morrisons reported like-for-like sales in the six weeks to January 2 up 1%.

Sainsbury’s said its non-food offer grew at three times the rate of food. It said clothing showed good growth, with lingerie and accessories in particular performing well, with sales up over 45% on last year. It also said it is now one of the fastest growing entertainment retailers.

It reported record orders for online groceries, and its non-food online continues to grow. Click and Collect is now in 150 stores.

In the quarter, Sainsbury’s opened 700,000 sq ft of new space.

King said: “The business continues to perform well in a challenging consumer environment, as customers are faced with fuel and VAT increases, combined with uncertain employment prospects. Our universal customer appeal together with our accelerated growth plans means we are well placed to make continued good progress in 2011.”