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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 10:18 GMT
Strong Christmas at Sainsbury's
Sainsbury's trolleys
Supermarkets have enjoyed buoyant Christmas sales
Supermarket group Sainsbury's has said it is "pleased" with its performance over the festive period after recording robust growth in sales.

Excluding fuel, like-for-like sales - which ignore the impact of new stores - rose 5% in the 12 weeks to 30 December. Sales were at a record in the week before Christmas, and online sales in Christmas week rose by more than 60%.

Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King said the figures showed the company's recovery remained firmly on track.

Including fuel, like-for-like sales were up 4.2%. Total sales for the quarter rose 5.8%, and were up 6.8% when fuel was excluded.

The supermarket said it saw strong sales of its premium and organic products, with sales of its Taste the Difference own-brand range posting growth of about 20%.

Closing the gap

Sainsbury's is the second supermarket to report record pre-Christmas sales.

On Wednesday, Morrisons said it had enjoyed record sales in the week before Christmas, helping like-for-like sales rise 6.3% in the six weeks to 7 January from a year earlier.

The strong festive demand has helped Sainsbury's close the gap on Asda, the UK's second-largest supermarket chain, figures have shown.

Research firm TNS Worldpanel said Sainsbury's increased its market share from 16.2% to 16.4% in the 12 weeks to the end of December. Asda's share remained at 16.6%.

Even so, the sector remains dominated by Tesco. The TNS survey found Tesco's market share over the festive period rose to 31.4%, from 30% in 2005.

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