Sainsbury's Sales Boost After Horse Meat Crisis

For a horse-free lasagne, shoppers go to Sainsbury's.

The supermarket has posted better-than-expected sales figures, in a quarter where many retailers like Tesco and Aldi have been tainted by the horse meat scandal.

With all its fresh beef sourced from the UK and Ireland and DNA testing carried out on its products for the last 10 years, Sainsbury's said recent tests on more than 300 products revealed no horsemeat.

The grocery chain said it increased market share in the 10 weeks to March 16, with 3.6% growth in like-for-like sales and an improvement in the average number of transactions per week to a record 22.9 million.

Chief executive Justin King added: "The issues experienced by the industry over the last quarter underscore the importance of our detailed understanding of our supply chain."

In January the supermarket withdraw burger products from sale produced by Dalepak – one of the suppliers whose products tested positive for horse DNA in a survey by the Food Standards Agency of Ireland, according to The Grocer.

The burgers were not actually implicated in the scandal, but it was decided to remove them as a precautionary measure.

Total revenues were up 7.1% when including petrol sales and an increase in trading space of about 5% over the last financial year.

Valentine's Day and Mother's Day were particularly strong for the retailer and Red Nose Day resulted in the company presenting a cheque for £10.5 million on behalf of customers and staff.

Sainsbury's said its general merchandise and clothing business was growing at three times the rate of food and in February reached the milestone of £1 billion annual sales.

Its convenience store business is also growing at 18% year-on-year and online grocery shopping increased sales by nearly 20% on a year earlier.

Tuesday's like-for-like figure of 3.6% is much stronger than the 2.3% estimated by City analysts and comes after growth of 1.7% in the first half of the year and 0.9% in the previous quarter.