Sainsburys CEO Justin King hailed the performance of the chains non-food range, particularly clothing.

Sainsbury's CEO Justin King hailed the performance of the chain's non-food range, particularly clothing.

Sainsbury's today announced that its non-food division was growing at three times the rate of its food business.

Speaking alongside the company's second quarter trading results, CEO Justin King described the "remarkable achievements" made within its clothing division, which has reached over GBP500m in annual turnover, driven by "better range and better value".

Additionally, he said children's wear was a "highlight" with the operator becoming the seventh largest children's wear retailer in the UK.

He said that despite increasing commodity prices, customers would continue to buy more clothing from Sainsbury's stores on the back of low clothing prices (thanks in part to an efficient supply chain), one-stop-shopping and "incredibly good value". Referring to increasing cotton prices, he said: "All the more reason for customers to seek out their clothing from supermarkets."

Despite the success, of its food and non-food operations, King announced that the retailer has "no plans to offer clothing online".

The retailer's extensive store expansion plans are mainly focused on expanding its non-food offer, with Sainsbury's testing out new non-food offers and a broader clothing range in its recently opened Crayford site - its largest outlet, at over 100,000 square feet.

The outlet is testing 'baby' and 'pet' worlds where clothing and accessories will be co-located next to food products and the home and lifestyle section is spread over 25,000 square feet.

Sainsbury's total sales for the first half were up 4.8%, excluding fuel.

For the half year ended 2 October, like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, were up 2%, outpacing competitor Tesco, which yesterday posted a 0.3% rise in UK like-for-like sales for its first half.

By Petah Marian