Underlying profits have increased by 6.2% at supermarket chain Sainsbury’s to £756m.

Unveiling its full year results to 16 March the company said however that its pre-tax figure fell 1.4% to £788m when property disposals were included.

Total sales rose by 4.6% to £25.6bn, driven by 33 consecutive quarters of like-for-like sales growth.

It came as the retailer also announced it was taking full control of Sainsbury’s Bank in a £248 million deal to buy the 50% stake held by taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group.

Chief executive Justin King was bullish and said: "Whilst we see no near-term change in the current economic situation, we remain confident that by continuing to invest in our long-standing strategy and by understanding and helping our customers, we are well positioned for future growth."

Sainsbury’s said it had outperformed competitors, citing figures from earlier this year which showed it had achieved 16.8% market share.

Online grocery sales were nearing the £1bn mark, while Sainsbury’s convenience stores took £1.5bn, the company announced. During the year, it opened 14 new supermarkets, eight extensions and 87 convenience stores.