Sainsbury’s has reported a steady Q4 trading period with like-for-like (LFL) sales excluding fuel at 0.1% growth.

Retail sales excluding fuel were up 1.2% and online grocery sales showed strong growth of nearly 14%, with online order numbers climbing nearly 19%.

The trading statement confirmed that Sainsbury’s was looking to phase out the majority of its grocery multi-buy promotions by August, and generally simplify its trading strategy in favour of lower prices. The company said this was in response to customer feedback, saying that multi-buy offers were confusing, created storage challenges and unnecessary waste, and did not meet their shopping needs.

Sainsbury’s said it had continued to invest in own-brand products, with a focus on its healthy-eating range. Launches included vegetable spaghetti and noodles, and a range of healthier breads including high-fibre rye loaves and sprouted grain boules.

expanded its estate

It also expanded its estate in the quarter, opening 16 convenience stores and one supermarket, including a second micro store in Richmond. It did not close any stores during the period.

Mike Coupe, chief executive at Sainsbury’s, said: “We have delivered a strong performance this quarter. Our supermarkets recorded both like-for-like transaction and volume growth, and we continue to exceed our internal metrics for service and availability. We also maintained our market share in the quarter. The market will remain competitive as food deflation continues to impact sales growth.

“We have traded well this year and are making excellent progress in implementing our strategy. The market will remain competitive, but we are confident that we will continue to outperform our major peers.”