Sunny weather and World Cup fever helped grocery retailer Sainsbury's continue its recent run of good sales results as the company released its first-quarter trading statistics today.
Total sales improved by 6.7 per cent, while petrol prices pushed the increased growth up to 8.1 per cent, representing a like-for-like increase of 7.1 per cent at the firm.
Sales had been driven by a 0.9 per cent "price deflation", caused as much by desperate efforts from Britain's struggling retail sector to keep consumers spending as much as by a desire to compete on price with other grocery competitors.
"We've continued our investment in lower prices, raised quality standards and developed new products and our sales performance continues to reflect the restored confidence customers now have in our ability to deliver great products at fair prices," commented Sainsbury's chief executive, Justin King.
"This quarter is a good start to the second year of our making Sainsbury's great again plan."
A recent survey of the UK grocery market conducted by research firm TNS showed that Sainsbury's 16 per cent share has closed the gap on second-place Asda to only 0.4 per cent.
Results released by Tesco last week, which recorded a fourth-quarter five per cent increase, showed an improvement that fails to match today's results from Sainsbury's.
But despite this the supermarket chain continues its dominance of the British market, controlling 31.1 per cent according to the TNS survey.