Sainsbury’s food sales benefited from the hot summer, with grocery sales up 1.2% in the interim results for the 28 weeks to 22nd September 2018.

Like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) are up 0.6% and groceries online grew nearly 7%.

Commenting on the Interim Results 2018, Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s group chief executive, said: “The market remains very competitive and we are transforming our business to meet rapidly changing customer needs.

“Sales of food were boosted by the hot summer, and our strategy of offering customers a distinctive range of high quality and great value food has driven like-for-like sales growth at Sainsbury’s.

“Where we have invested to lower prices, volumes and transactions have increased. Our proposed combination with Asda will create a dynamic new player in UK retail, with the ability to further lower prices and to reduce the cost of living for millions of UK households.

“The Competition and Markets Authority is conducting its in-depth Phase Two review into the proposed combination and we continue to engage constructively with the CMA and Panel.”

The retailer has confirmed it is maximising the productivity of its supermarket space, and repurposing its food space in a number of our stores to drive an increase in trading intensity.

Sainsbury’s has also said that the consumer outlook is uncertain as it heads into its key Christmas trading period.