Sainsbury's continues to grow in strength on back of half-year results (Reuters)

Sainsbury's business strength continued to show growth in its half-year results as it demonstrated resilience in an extremely competitive sector of the economy.

Its half-year profits rose 9% for the same period as last year as the brand expanded its share of the grocery market to the highest level in a decade.

"Our share of the grocery market is the highest for a decade at 16.8% following 35 consecutive quarters of like-for-like sales growth," said chief executive Justin King.

King listed the products that were driving Sainsbury's growth and how they appealed to cash strapped consumers in a tough economic climate.

"We are helping customers Live Well for Less through high-quality, affordable own-brand products, Brand Match, Nectar and targeted coupon-at-till promotions. Whilst customers' budgets remain tight and any recovery in the economy may take time to take effect, our consistent strategy and strong values-driven culture mean we are well placed to continue to deliver for customers, colleagues and shareholders," he continued.

Furthermore, total sales including VAT and fuel went up 4.4% to £13,953m ($22bn, €16.4bn) and like for like sales excluding fuel were 1.4%.

Competitive Market

The big four supermarkets are under pressure as prices become less of a differentiator for shoppers, according to research from Kantar Worldpanel, which analyses the habits of 30,000 UK households.

Kantar's grocery share figures for the 12 weeks ending 15 September 2013 found that Sainsbury's is the only big four grocer to increase its market share over the past year.

It grew from 16.4% to 16.6% and recorded a market-beating growth of 5.1%.

The other big retailers have all lost market share over the past year: Asda is ahead of Tesco and Morrisons in terms of its year-on-year sales growth, which stands at 2.4%.

In contrast, Aldi had 32.7% year-on-year sales increases and Lidl and Waitrose also performed well with respective growth rates of 14.3% and 9.7%.