Sainsbury’s shares were up by 2.3% in the FTSEurofirst 300 index Reuters

A three day slide in European shares was brought to a halt today thanks to better than expected German retail figures and also an unexpected fillip from Sainsbury's shares, which rose by 2.3%.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.3% at 1,328.61 points at opening, reported Reuters. It had been down 3.3% in the previous three sessions.

Data from Germany's Federal Statistics office revealed that retail sales in the country rose by 1% in November, beating predictions of a flat market.

Sainsbury's outperformed analysts' expectations, despite its like for like sales dropping over the key Christmas period. The supermarket had clocked a record breaking 29.5 million customer transactions in the week before Christmas.

Tesco saw its shares rise by 2.2% ahead of its third quarter interim management statement which is due to be released on 8 January.