However, like-for-like sales
actually fell in the 40 weeks to 22 June, with the sales boost coming largely from new stores.
In the previous quarter, Sainsbury's saw its like-for-like sales
fall 3.1%, but Barclays warns against reading too much into the recovery because of the impact of Easter and other one-o$ comparables.
But Halfords said the so-called "Wiggins effect" helped improve trade after a torrid first quarter, when like-for-like sales
plunged 7.5 per cent.
The group - which sells everything for pounds 1 - said like-for-like sales
had risen 3.9% in the five weeks to January 4 as consumers sought cheaper options.
The company, which has suffered from last month's wet weather and trading comparisons with last summer's World Cup, said like-for-like sales excluding fuel grew by three per cent in the 23 weeks to July 15 - down from the four per cent reported in May.
Tesco, the nation's biggest supermarket chain, last month posted a 4.7 per cent rise in like-for-like sales excluding fuel for the 13 weeks to May 26, while Sainsbury, the third biggest, saw growth of 5.1 per cent for the 12 weeks to June 16.
Mid-market retailers reported a year-onyear like-for-like sales
drop of 2.2%, according to accountancy firm BDO's High Street Sales Tracker.
Like-for-like sales advances are likely to be anaemic for both, considering the 0.8% like-for-like growth registered by Morrisons in the 13 weeks to May 2, when it complained of the "virtual elimination" of food inflation.
In the UK - where it generated two-thirds of its pounds 56.9bn annual revenue last year - Evolution broker Dave McCarthy said like-for-like sales should be 1.5% ahead, but he warned that when stripping out January's VAT hike sales growth, the figure could be flat or even negative.
A weak UK consumer environment is to blame for a post-Christmas fall in like-for-like sales
, music chain HMV has claimed.