The UK’s second-biggest supermarket retailer J Sainsbury has confirmed that its sales growth slowed to 2.4% in the second quarter.

In the 16 weeks ending 12 October, Sainsbury’s sales increased 2.4% compared to 2.7% in the 12 weeks to 22 June, which was in turn a slowdown from the previous quarter.

CEO Peter Davis remained positive, reassuring investors that the company was making progress despite the slower market that it is currently facing. Tough competition coupled with a slowdown in consumer spending is producing a harsh environment for supermarket chains.

Shares in Sainsbury’s have lost 40% of their value in the last six months, and have underperformed sector rivals, reported Reuters.

Sainsbury’s will be hoping for improved sales following the launch of its new Nectar loyalty card.