Supermarket chain opens first 100,000sq ft superstore, while growing non-food offer at three times the rate of food.
Total sales at the grocer were up 4.7% excluding fuel, with like-for-like figures up 2% for the 28 weeks ended October 2. Pre-tax profit saw an impressive 36.3% jump to £466m, with underling profit up 8.2% to £370m.
Sainsbury's continued to increase market share, with its non-food offer, which includes lighting, homewares, kitchen products, electricals, toys and clothing and footwear, growing at three times the rate of food. The supermarket now ranks as the UK's tenth largest clothing retailer by volume.
Online sales were also encouraging, up 25% for the first half, while a click and collect service is now available at 140 Sainsbury's stores.
Sainsbury's has pushed ahead with its expansion plans, adding 540,000sq ft of gross space in H1 and opening its first 100,000 sq ft store in Crayford, Kent in September. The extended branch is its largest to date and features a 25,000 sq ft area dedicated to home and lifestyle. The section, says the company, has "a look more akin to a department store than a supermarket", beds and sofas on display for customers to try out. The store also includes a pet world.
Sainsbury's chairman David Tyler said: "The board is pleased with Sainsbury's continued strong performance in the first half of the year. We continue to gain market share and have seen good profit growth."
The firm's chief executive Justin King added: "As we enter the second half, we expect the economic environment to remain challenging. We remain confident that our universal customer appeal, combined with our strong growth momentum, means we are in a good position to perform well in this environment."