Sainsbury's has reported that like-for-like sales in the four months to December grew 3.9%, boosted by online growth of 27%.
The company's good results were fuelled by online success, with the retailer recording its biggest number of online orders ever in the week before Christmas. Shoppers made 132,000 orders during the week, contributing to a 27% growth rate in the third quarter of the financial year. This came after a 30% rate of growth in the first half of the current financial year.
Online transactions are still a relatively small percentage of Sainsbury's total, with 22.6 million transactions taking place in the run up to Christmas. But the company has said in the past it sees "significant growth potential" in online business, and the IT team has come through a few technical hitches in the past.
In the first half of the 2009/10 financial year, it plans to introduce non-food products onto its site.
Chief executive Justin King said Christmas 2008 was the company's best ever. He said, "We have continued to develop the Sainsbury's offer and demonstrated our ability to respond to rapidly changing customer needs."