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Sainsbury's beats Q2 sales forecasts

* Q2 LfL sales up 1.9 pct ex fuel

* Q2 total sales up 4.3 pct (4.4 per cent ex fuel

* Expects challenging economic backdrop to persist

* Says positioned to perform well in Christmas period

LONDON, Oct 3 (Reuters) - J Sainsbury , Britain's third-biggest supermarket group, posted better than expected quarterly sales growth, boosted by strong take-up of its own label range and the roll out of its convenience stores.

Sainsbury, which trails industry leader Tesco and Wal-Mart's Asda by market share, said on Wednesday sales at stores open over a year, excluding fuel, rose 1.9 percent in the 16 weeks to Sept. 29, its fiscal second quarter.

That compares with analysts' average forecast of 1.4 percent, a rise of the same magnitude in the firm's first quarter, and represents a 31st consecutive quarter of underlying sales growth.

(Reporting by Neil Maidment; editing by James Davey)

((neil.maidment@thomsonreuters.com; +44 (0) 207 542 2292; Twitter @ReutersMaidment; Reuters Messaging: neil.maidment.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: SAINSBURY/