Sainsbury\u2019s has announced another tough quarter of trading as it revealed a 1.2% fall in total sales during Q1.\u00a0\r\n\r\nDuring the 16 week period ending 29 June Sainsbury\u2019s like-for-like sales also fell by 1.6% as its attempt to reduce the prices of more than 1,000 \u201cbig selling\u201d own-brand products did not bear fruit.\u00a0\r\n\r\nSainsbury\u2019s was hit by a decline in grocery sales of 0.5% while its non-food sales struggled with general merchandise sales down 3.1% and clothing sales also falling by 4.5%.\r\n\r\nMike Coupe, Sainsbury\u2019s chief executive, attributed the results to a \u201ctough trading environment\u201d and said despite the fall in sales the grocer had actually increased its market share in the general merchandising and clothing categories.\r\n\r\nHe said: \u201cWe continue to adapt our business to changing shopping habits and made good progress in a challenging market. We reduced prices on over 1,000 every day food and grocery products and improved our relative performance.\u201cOur premium \u2018Taste the Difference\u2019 ranges are growing market share and we continue to improve customer service and availability. In a tough trading environment, we gained market share in key general merchandise categories and in clothing, where we are now the UK\u2019s fifth largest retailer by volume.\u201d\r\n\r\nHe added: \u201cWe will invest in 400 supermarkets this year, including adding an enhanced beauty offer in 100 stores. We are accelerating investment in technology: 148 supermarkets now have SmartShop self-scan, 206 Argos stores offer Pay@Browse and we upgraded 29 more Argos stores to digital formats, all helping to make shopping with us quicker and easier. In May, we celebrated Sainsbury\u2019s 150th birthday. Our focus on giving customers high quality products at good value remains as true today as it was 150 years ago.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe drop in sales follows the company\u2019s failed proposal to merge with rival Asda, which was blocked in April by the UK's competition watchdog after it concluded that the deal would result in a \u201csubstantial lessening\u201d of competition.