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J Sainsbury PLC Reveals Sales Up 5%

The shares of J Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY) (NASDAQOTH: JSAIY.US) slid 9p to 381p during early trade this morning after the supermarket revealed its total sales had improved by 5% during the 16 weeks to 28 September.

The FTSE 100 member said sales on an underlying basis during the same period had advanced by 2.1%, which was an improvement on the 0.7% like-for-like performance recorded during the prior three months.

Sainsbury’s confirmed its first half had seen total sales gain 4.4%, or 4.0% excluding fuel.

Justin King, the chief executive of Sainsbury’s, claimed:

We have delivered strong sales over the quarter, continuing to outperform the market in what remains a tough retail environment. We are the only major supermarket to be growing market share.

Mr King revealed the group’s own-label products had continued to grow at over twice the rate of branded goods.

He also revealed Sainsbury’s online business grew by over 15% in the second quarter and was now enjoying annual sales of more than £1bn.

Prior to today, City brokers had been expecting Sainsbury’s to report current-year earnings up 4% to 31.8p per share and lift its annual dividend by 5% to 17.6p.

Based on those estimates, Sainsbury’s shares may trade at 12 times possible profits and offer a 4.6% potential income.

Of course, whether that valuation, today's update and the general prospects for the supermarket sector all currently combine to make Sainsbury's a 'buy' right now is something only you can decide.

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> Maynard does not own any share mentioned in this article.