THE Sainsbury’s Stanway store became its first to record sales of £1million in one day.

Figures released today show the supermarket chain enjoyed its busiest trading week ever in the run-up to Christmas with bumper sales on December 23.

Sales in the latest quarter compared to the previous year climbed by 0.2 per cent.

Chief executive Justin King said the 14 weeks to January 4 had been a "very tough sales environment" but the supermarket managed to maintain its record of growth - after it was forecast to fall after 35 successive periods of expansion.

Mr King said the seven days prior to Christmas was the group's busiest ever trading week, with more than 28 million transactions.

He added: "This quarter has been characterised by a very tough sales environment throughout October and November, with customers saving up in order to treat their families over the Christmas period.

"However, we saw strong sales in the key period over Christmas."

Analysts had pencilled in a like-for-like sales fall for the quarter as major supermarkets continue to feel the squeeze from discounters Aldi and Lidl as well as higher end grocers such as Waitrose - which also reported booming seasonal sales today.