Sainsbury’s convenience business is continuing to lead sales in what has been a slow first quarter for the supermarket chain.

Total retail sales were up 1.0% excluding fuel while like-for-like retail sales for first quarter were down 1.1% excluding fuel.

Convenience sales however are growing by 18% year on year and during the last quarter it opened 27 new convenience stores and refurbished a further 12. It also opened its 200th convenience store in London.

Unveiling his last set of figures before he stands down in July, chief executive Justin King said that shoppers were continuing to “spend cautiously, leading to industry growth in the quarter being the slowest in a decade”.

Sainsbury’s also remained on track to deliver around two new convenience stores per week and around 750,000 square feet of new space this year, King added.

At the end of the quarter Sainsbury’s had 592 supermarkets and 638 convenience stores.