Sainsbury’s has announced a 42% jump in its full-year pre-tax profits as it continues its recovery plan to increase sales and lure customers from its rivals.

Underlying pre-tax profit in the year to 24 March hit £380m, up from £267m in the same period last year.

Sainsbury’s to bid boost sales appeared to be on track as sales climbed 6.9% to £18.52bn from £17.32bn.

The supermarket, which had been a takeover target for a private equity consortium in recent months, plans to reach £2.5bn sales growth by March next year.

Justin King, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said the strong sales, the group’s best for many years, were ahead of its expectations.

“It shows our recovery is ahead of plan,” he said.

Announcing plans to spend £2.5bn over the next three years in extending its sales area by 10% to 19m sq ft, Mr King said Sainsbury’s planned to secure long-term growth by meeting consumer “passion” for healthy, fresh and tasty food.

“Customers have become increasingly concerned with eating better and more healthily as well as the social and ethical consequences of their supermarket shop,” he said.

“Sainsbury’s is well positioned and at the forefront of addressing these concerns.”