British supermarket giant Sainsbury has reported a better than expected 11.3% rise in annual profits to £543m.
The UK's third biggest supermarket, which is celebrating its 140th anniversary, said like-for-like sales rose 4.5%, excluding fuel, in the year to March 21.
But chief executive Justin King said it had been a 'very challenging period for the UK retail industry'. Today's profits came in slightly higher than the £526 million expected in the market.
While the growth is less than half the 28% surge seen the previous year, it compares well with the 8.8% hike in annual profits seen at market leader Tesco and the 7% rise at Morrison.
Sainsbury's has been stealing market share from Tesco as value-conscious consumers shop around for the best deal, with the latest data showing Sainsbury's now accounts for 16.3% of the sector.