By Marcus Leach

Despite what they called a 'tough economic environment' Sainsbury's have announced that total sales, including VAT and fuel were up 7.6% to £12,848 million as of October 1st.

The supermarket chain said underlying profits before tax in the 28 weeks to 1 October were up 6.6% compared with a year earlier.

There was also an increase in like for like sales, excluding fuel sales, as they rose by 1.9%.

“We are pleased with our sales and profit performance, given the challenging economic environment," David Tyler, Chairman, said.

"We have continued to make good progress against our five areas of focus, strengthening our position for the long-term, particularly the investment in our food and clothing ranges as well as new channels and services. Our interim dividend is 4.5 pence, which is in line with our policy to pay this at 30 per cent of the previous year's full-year dividend.”

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