Sainsbury’s convenience business achieved sales growth of more than 6% in the 15 weeks to January 7, the multiple retailer reported this morning [Wednesday].

The convenience business opened 15 new outlets during the period – including six trial franchise stores in Euro Garages’ petrol forecourts – exceeding the previous quarters’ openings when nine debuted.

Euro Garages operates all six of the Locals which is the first time Sainsbury’s has allowed another business to do so.

Sainsbury’s had 796 convenience stores, including six franchises, at the end of the third quarter – far exceeding its supermarkets, which stood at 604.

Sainsbury’s total retail sales climbed 0.8% in the quarter, excluding fuel and excluding the impact of the sale of its pharmacy business. Total retail sales fell 0.3%, excluding fuel with the impact of the sale of the pharmacy business stripped out.

Like-for-like retail sales edged up 0.1% excluding fuel. Combined Sainsbury’s and Argos like-for-likes moved up 1% excluding fuel.

Mike Coupe, group chief executive, said Sainsbury’s offered customers greater quality food, choice and value than ever before, across all channels.

“We had a record Christmas week, with over 30 million customer transactions at Sainsbury’s and over £1bn of sales across the group.”

Coupe said the market remained “very competitive” and the impact of the devaluation of sterling remained “uncertain”.

He said: “Our vision is to be the most trusted retailer where people love to work and shop.”