Sainsbury’s has seen total retail sales (excluding fuel) fall 0.4% in its second quarter results to 24 September 2016.

Like-for-like retail sales were down 1.1%. During the 16-week period, the retailer opened nine new convenience stores and one new supermarket, while extending another outlet and refurbishing four further stores. There was one store closure during the period.

The company pointed to the fact that it was continuing to improve the quality and range of its food. Earlier this month, it launched its new On the Go range of sandwiches, salads, sushi, snacks and drinks, saying it had “invested in the quality of the whole range to improve taste and freshness and give customers more choice, across snacks, options for breakfast and healthier foods”.

Online groceries delivered 8% sales growth and nearly 12% growth in customer orders, said the company. It also began trialling same-day online grocery deliveries, now available from eight stores.

It also completed the acquisition of Home Retail Group on 2 September, marking the start of Sainsbury’s, Argos and Habitat trading as one multi-channel, multi-product retailer.

The retailer said it had removed the vast majority of multi-buy promotions and continued to reduce promotional activity in favour of lower, regular prices. It said it would remain competitive on price and continue to invest in the prices of everyday items.

The retailer added that it remained “committed to cutting food waste in our own operations and helping our customers do the same”. As such, it said, it is now reporting food waste figures (in tonnage) and its charitable food partnerships have “increased significantly” over the last year and now stand at over 1,000.

Mike Coupe, group chief executive, said: “We continue to make progress against our strategy and, while like-for-like sales were down 1.1%, driven by food price deflation, we delivered like-for-like transaction growth across all channels and total volume growth. We have made further investment in everyday low prices and continue to improve the quality of our products.

 “We expect the market to remain competitive and the effect of the devaluation of sterling remains unclear. However, Sainsbury’s is well-positioned to navigate the changing marketplace and we are confident that our strategy will enable us to continue to outperform our major peers.”

Last week, Sainsbury’s announced an overhaul of its patisserie counters