Small store openings boost Sainsbury's profits


Sainsbury's heaped more pressure on rival Tesco today as growth in convenience shopping and its own ranges helped it deliver better-than-expected sales.

The UK's third largest supermarket chain, which has more than 1,000 stores, said like-for-like sales excluding fuel rose 2.6% in the 10 weeks to March 17, compared with City expectations for a rise of 2.1%.

It grew its share of the convenience store market, with sales up 20% following the opening of 15 new stores, and it claimed to be the fastest growing online grocer with trading up more than a fifth after it served an average of 165,000 customers a week.

Grocery sales were supported by its Brand Match price guarantee, while its own basics range grew by 10% and premium Taste The Difference by 20%.

The update supports recent grocery data showing it is stealing market share from rival Tesco, which recently issued a profits warning and earlier this month announced the summer departure of UK boss Richard Brasher.