Supermarket retailer Sainsbury's today (3 October) reported a rise in second-quarter sales, with clothing continuing to outpace its food business. The results have come in ahead of analysts' expectations who have viewed the figures as "positive" and "solid".

Kate Calvert, retail research analyst at Seymour Pierce
"For the 16 weeks to the 29 September, Sainsbury has reported Q2 total sales including petrol up 4.3% with LFL sales ex petrol up 1.9%. This is ahead of market expectations and we suspect will be a good performance relative to its peers. Sainsbury is benefiting from its recent investment in extensions, non-food (growth accelerated in period to three times food again) and its own brand."

Joseph Robinson, senior analyst at Conlumino
"Sainsbury's has inevitably continued to benefit from space expansion, with growth of its convenience portfolio being a particular focus. Indeed, its presence in non-food - where it is markedly less mature in certain areas comparative to its peers - continues to be boosted by new space, with the grocer actively looking to extend superstores. Clothing, in particular, is an area where it is gaining further traction, with widening in-store offers helping it to achieve its largest ever schoolwear sales during this period."

Dave McCarthy, analyst at Investec
"2Q 2012/13 trading was a touch better than expected, but analysis of the figures is concerning for Sainsbury and the industry. LFL in the second quarter was up 0.9% excluding extensions, and was flattish excluding maturing stores. When we strip out inflation, growth in convenience and growth in the internet, LFL volumes are down over 3% in the core estate. This may mean that Sainsbury is not in as bad a position as its competitors, but ultimately this rate of volume decline will present major problems."

"Sainsbury stated that internet sales grew by 20% in the quarter and that convenience stores continue with their strong growth. But both these channels have lower margins than traditional stores, so the business is becoming less efficient. Sainsbury justify this by saying that when a shopper becomes an internet shopper its total sales to that shopper actually go up. But, our analysis suggests that Sainsbury must be losing share of its non-internet shoppers in mature stores."

Michelle Russell contributed to this article.