Sainsbury's see 34th quarter of growth

Supermarket Sainsbury's has seen like-for-like sales rise 0.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2013, to achieve its 34th quarter of consecutive like-for-like growth (release).

The firm fares well compared with rival Tescos, which saw like-for-like sales drop by one per cent in the same period.

Over the quarter the retailers has opened 19 convenience stores and two supermarkets , while refurbishing a further 13 convenience stores and six supermarkets.

Convenience sales roles by 20 per cent year-on-year, with online groceries growing by 16 per cent year-on-year.

Justin King, chief executive, said:

This has been a solid performance in what continues to be a tough consumer environment. During the quarter we lapped some of our strongest performance of last year, culminating in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and have extended our track record to 34 quarters of like-for-like growth. We are the only major grocer growing market share, up 0.2 per cent to 16.8 per cent

Ishaq Siddiqi, market strategist at ETX Capital, says the results are likely to restore confidence in the supermarket when compared to rivals like Tesco, which is failing to see much return on its investments in the UK. He adds that Sainsbury's strong strategy of cost-cutting, deleveraging and expanding its number of convinience stores at a faster rate than Tesco is paying off.

However, Siddiqi warns that Sainsbury's lack of strong online retailing services could put it at a disadvantage against the likes of Tesco, Morrissons and Ocado. It's likely that many of the headlines will focus around King's pay, who has been awarded a 23 per cent pay rise.