• Morrisons like-for-likes rise 0.7% in 13 weeks to May 1 
  • But supermarket giant’s total sales fall 1.8%
  • Food to go sales jump 17% 

Morrisons has posted a rise in first-quarter like-for-likes as boss David Potts said its efforts to stabilise trading were “taking effect”.

The grocer’s like-for-likes rose for the second consecutive quarter, up 0.7% in the 13 weeks to May 1. Total sales fell 1.8%, which the retailer attributed to stores closures and the exit of its M Local chain last year. 

Like-for-like transaction growth rose 3.1%, driven by its food to go offer, which enjoyed a sales increase of 17%.

Morrisons items per basket were down 2.8% after installing self-scan and express checkouts in stores.

Potts said: “We are encouraged by progress across our six priorities. There is still much to do and our colleagues are working very hard to improve the shopping trip and save customers every penny we can.

“Customers are responding and satisfaction levels remain ahead of last year. We are of course pleased with a second consecutive quarter of positive like-for-like sales, which demonstrates our aim to stabilise trade is taking effect.”

The grocer’s like-for-likes fell 2% in its full-year results, reported last month, but showed an improving trend in the second half, edging up 0.1% in the fourth quarter. Its full-year profits were down 27% to £302m, in line with expectations.

Morrisons first-quarter like-for-like rise comes after big four rival Sainsbury’s unveiled its full-year results yesterday.

Sainsbury’s reported statutory pre-tax profits hit £548m in the 52 weeks ended March 12, following a £72m loss the previous year, but like-for-likes slipped 0.9%.

Total sales across all grocers edged up 0.1% to £25.4bn in the 12 weeks to April 24, while Morrisons’ sales slipped 2.6% in the period, according to latest Kantar figures.