Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King said the grocer is catering better for customers than some rivals as he revealed strong fourth-quarter sales.

The retailer, which recorded like-for-like sales excluding petrol up 6.2 per cent for the 11 weeks to March 21, said it is continuing to win new customers.

King told Retail Week: “Customers continue to have their budgets under pressure and are examining everything they spend. But more and more they are finding that Sainsbury’s is better value than it ever has been.”

Sainsbury’s revealed total sales up 6.8 per cent excluding petrol.
In its second half, like-for-like sales climbed 5.3 per cent.

The grocer said its Switch & Save campaign on Basics in January led to sales up more than 60 per cent year on year. However, customers are also increasingly concerned about ethical issues and it doubled its range of higher welfare pork. Also, all Sainsbury’s own-brand pork sausages, including Basics, are made from British meat.

King said: “Basics is obviously doing well but so are ranges such as Freedom Food, which gives out a very strong long-term message for the Sainsbury’s brand, as the trend for quality won’t go away.”

King also said non-food sales continue to increase strongly and Sainsbury’s clothing market share has grown. Clothing is now available in 290 stores. The retailer has accelerated the roll-out of Tu Home and its online shopping service generated sales growth of more than 20 per cent in the quarter.

King said that plans to launch a full non-food online offer this summer are progressing well, but details are yet to be finalised.