Sainsburys chief executive Justin King

Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King

Sainsbury's has emphasised the strong performance of its apparel division over the second-quarter, with chief executive Justin King highlighting the strength of the channel over the period.

The supermarket retailer said its general merchandise sales growth was "well ahead of of the grocery business". Speaking to just-style today (5 October) King said that since its electricals and entertainment products have seen softer revenues, "by implication" home and clothing have had a stronger quarter".

"You can take it as read that it's a pretty strong growth picture," he said.

Over the three months to 1 October, the retailer's apparel division has "grown market share," according to commercial director Mike Coupe, and it's now the "eighth largest clothing retailer by volume". He also highlighted the strength of its children's wear offer, saying that "again, by volume, we are the fourth largest children's wear retailer".

With much of the retailer's growth coming from expanding its non-food offer through store extensions and new stores, when asked whether it was down to the strength of the offer or increased selling space, King said it was a "combination of both".

"We've got underlying like-for-like growth in some stores, and clearly we get the benefit from extensions and new stores," said King.

The UK's third-largest retailer reported a 1.9% increase in like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, for the three months to 1 October. Group sales grew 4.4%, excluding fuel.

For the half, like-for-like sales were up 1.9%, excluding fuel, while total sales climbed 4.3%.

The retailer will launch a clothing range in collaboration with TV presenter and stylist Gok Wan tomorrow. The collection will be offered in over 200 stores, with the range covering 13 styles and prices starting at GBP20.