Sainsbury’s suffered a 0.4% drop in like-for-like (LFL) retail sales, excluding fuel, for the 15 weeks to 9 January 2016 – despite trading well over Christmas.

However, as revealed in its Q3 trading statement, total retail sales were up by 0.8%, with the company reporting a strong performance online and in its convenience stores.

Sainsbury’s opened 16 convenience stores in the quarter and claimed to have enjoyed its biggest day of convenience store sales on 24 December. Meanwhile, online grocery sales were up by nearly 10% and orders by 15%.

Mike Coupe, chief executive at Sainsbury’s, said: “We have traded well during the festive period in a highly competitive market. Our stores delivered excellent levels of service and availability and we launched several new seasonal products and range improvements. As a result we have seen our market share grow in the quarter.

“Given our good performance in this quarter, we now expect our like-for-like sales in the second half of the year to be better than the first. Food deflation and pressures on pricing will ensure that the market remains challenging for the foreseeable future. We will continue to remain competitive on price and our performance this quarter provides further evidence that our strategy is working.”

Sainsbury’s attributed its performance to investment in quality, price and service. It said that its goal to invest in the quality of 3,000 products remained on track and that it had reduced its level of vouchering, multi-buys and other promotional participation on a year-on-year basis in favour of delivering lower regular prices.