J Sainsbury plc Boosted By Strong Sales Performance

The share price of J Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY) (NASDAQOTH: JSAIY.US) is currently up close to 3%, following publication of its interim results for the 28 weeks to 28 September 2013.

Underlying pre-tax profit is up 7%, at £400m, on total sales, including fuel, that have risen 4.4%, to just over £13.9bn.  Excluding fuel sales rose 4%, but only 1.4% on a like-for-like basis. 

Underlying basic earnings per share were pushed 9.2% higher, to 16.6p — enhanced, admittedly, by a reduction in the statutory corporation tax rate — and the company will be paying an interim dividend of 5p per share, up 4.2% on last year’s, and in line with Sainsbury’s policy of paying 30% of the previous year’s total dividend as an interim.

Non-financial highlights include Sainsburys’ winning 15 out of 28 “Grocer 33” Service and Availability awards, and being awarded “Supermarket of the Year” for the sixth time in eight years at the Retail Industry Awards.

Chief executive Justin King commented:

Our share of the grocery market is the highest for a decade at 16.8 per cent following 35 consecutive quarters of like-for-like sales growth. We are helping customers Live Well for Less through high-quality, affordable own-brand products, Brand Match, Nectar and targeted coupon-at-till promotions.

“Whilst customers’ budgets remain tight and any recovery in the economy may take time to take effect, our consistent strategy and strong values-driven culture mean we are well placed to continue to deliver for customers, colleagues and shareholders.

Currently at 409.9p, Sainsburys’ share price is up 16.8% on this time last year, and has a forward yield of around 4.3%.

If you're looking for some top-quality investment opportunities, you should definitely check out the latest free report -- "5 Shares To Retire On". This report contains five long-term share selections from our team of expert analysts here at the Motley Fool.

Get hold of your FREE copy now.

> Jon doesn't own shares in J. Sainsbury.