Sainsbury’s buoyed by fuel and clothing

SAINSBURY’S yesterday reported a like-for-like sales lift, with clothing one of its top performers.

The retailer’s sales were up 1.9 per cent excluding fuel in the quarter to 1 October.

Its convenience stores business continued to grow at a rate of 20 per cent, with sales growth stronger than in its supermarkets.

It said its “Back to School” products had flown off the shelves with 100,000 pairs of school trousers purchased.

Meanwhile chief executive Justin King said its Live Well for Less campaign had helped trigger the sales rise, although he acknowledged that the market remained tough.

He said: “We expect the market environment to remain very competitive for the foreseeable future but we are confident in our ability to grow by doing a great job for our customers.”

The chain’s total sales were 7.6 per cent up, thanks partly to the strong performance of its petrol stations. That was helped by a 10p per litre petrol discount for any shopper spending more than £60 in a store.

The company added 39,000 sq ft of space in the quarter and said its expansion plans were on track despite the tough consumer climate.