Sainsbury’s convenience store business is growing even though the overall business faltered with underlying profit and group sales including VAT for the year to March 12 both down.

Underlying profit before tax fell 13.8% to £587m, compared with £681m the previous year, and underlying group sales including VAT were £25,829m, 1.1% down on the previous year’s £26,122m.

In the statement with its accounts Sainsbury said convenience now generates sales of more than £2.3bn, more than 9% up on the previous year, and it opened 69 convenience stores during the year. We also trades in 601 supermarkets and new formats are being trialled in six of them.

Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “We continue to outperform our main supermarket peers and maintain market share in a competitive, deflationary environment. We deliver great quality products and services at fair prices, whenever and wherever customers want to shop – and with volumes and transactions up, it is clear customers are responding positively to our offer.”