SAINSBURY’S was a little more low key about its sales rise and consumer sentiment than Tesco which posted sales figures earlier in the week.

With Sir Terry Leahy signing off with his last set of results it is hardly surprising that Tesco has stolen some of Sainsbury’s thunder.

However, Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King echoed Sir Terry’s view that consumer confidence was far from falling off a cliff.

Sainsbury’s has added more than 266,000 sq ft to its retail space with the opening of three new superstores and with like-for -like sales up 2.9 per cent and online sales rising, the company’s data is far from bleak. Sam Hart at Charles Stanley said the shares had been prospering but expectations should now be reined in. In a note he said: “We think the valuation is now starting to look slightly rich and anticipate a period of share price consolidation.

“Our recommendation is downgraded from ‘Accumulate’ to ‘Hold’.

“We see better value in Tesco (‘Accumulate’) and Morrison (‘Accumulate’) at present.”

The shares are “hold” for now.