Online sales growth of 40% and improved product availability thanks to better back-office procedures have helped Sainsbury's grow like-for-like sales by 7.3% for the first quarter of 2008.
Chief executive Justin King said this morning, "The online operation is continuing to perform well, with sales growth at more than 40%. We continue to drive improvements in our operations in-store and throughout the supply chain.
"Product availability and customer service have stepped up significantly since the previous year, and during the quarter recorded their highest levels since our mystery customer measurements began."
King said like-for-like sales for first quarter were up 3.4% (7.3% including fuel). He said Sainsbury's had opened three new supermarkets, replaced one, extended two and refurbished nine. "We also sold 22 of the 36 convenience stores that were announced for closure in March 2008," he said.
King said the retailer now served nearly 18 million customers a week. "We anticipate that the environment will remain challenging, we operate from a strong financial position and our expectations for the full year remain unchanged," he said.