Sainsbury’s is now the second-largest supermarket in the UK in terms of sales, overtaking Asda, after boosting sales by 4.4% for the 28 weeks to 28 September 2013.

Total sales (including fuel and VAT) stood at £13.9bn, compared to £13.3bn in the same period last year. Like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) increased 1.4%, with underlying profit before tax up 7% to £400m.

The retailer increased its market share to 16.8% - the highest for a decade - following 35 consecutive quarters of like-for-like growth.

Among its successes has been the relaunch of its Taste the Difference range, which is showing double-digit growth, said Sainsbury’s.

Justin King, chief executive, said: “While customers’ budgets remain tight and any recovery in the economy may take time to take effect, our consistent strategy and strong values-driven culture mean we are well placed to continue to deliver for customers, colleagues and shareholders.”