Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Sainsbury's 'basics' boost sales

Sainsbury's store
Sainsbury's shares have risen 0.7% so far this year.

Supermarket chain Sainsbury's has said sales increased in the first three months of the year.

It said sales in the fourth quarter of the financial year at stores open for at least a year rose 2.7%, or 6.2% excluding fuel.

Sales of Sainsbury's cheaper "basics" products rose more than 60% as cash-strapped consumers sought bargains.

Sainsbury's has also introduced campaigns such as "feed your family for a fiver".

"People are spending perhaps more money with supermarkets, perhaps a little bit less from takeaways and restaurants," chief executive Justin King told the BBC.

Grocer gains

Sales in the 11 weeks to 21 March overall rose by 3.4%, the the third-biggest supermarket retailer said in a trading update.

Sales at supermarkets have held up despite the recession as competition has increased for customers.

Morrisons reported a 7% increase in annual pre-tax profits to £655m and a rise of 7.9% in like-for-like sales excluding petrol on the year.

The UK's fourth-biggest grocer said it was taking customers away from its more expensive rivals.

Waitrose said this month that sales for the first five weeks of 2009 increased by 5.2% to reach £4bn for the first time. Waitrose launched 11 shops last year and plans to open a further 22 this year.

Sainsbury's reported a 4.5% rise in like-for-like sales over the Christmas period.

Tesco has said its sales rose 2.5% during that period.

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