By Marcus Leach

Sainsbury's smaller convenience stores and online shopping have helped push sales up in what they describe as 'a challenging market'.

The food retailer reported that like-for-like sales, excluding fuel - which pulls out the impact of new store openings - rose 1.4% in the three months to 9 June from a year earlier.

With strong sales reported in the run up to the Jubilee Bank Holiday sales in the retailers smaller stores were up 16%, with a 20% jump in online sales.

“The UK retail sector is highly competitive and many supermarkets are struggling to compete in the wake of aggressive price wars and lacklustre consumer confidence," Jo Causon, Chief Executive of the Institute of Customer Service.

“Yet, Sainsburys appears to have understood what today’s consumer wants - a positive overall experience as well as value for money.

“Although no doubt helped by the recent bank holidays and price match offers, Sainsburys has benefitted from its direct focus on the British market, its consumers and what they want from a shopping experience.

“In those areas where Sainsburys has focused directly on customer needs - by building smaller convenience stores and boosting their online and mobile offering - it is achieving positive financial results."

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