Booths has narrowed its losses as the retailer’s bosses ramp up plans to “transform the business”.

The upmarket grocer more than halved pre-tax losses to £5.5m in the year to March 31, down from £13.5m the previous year.

Turnover slipped 2% to £258m during the 12-month period, but Booths said year-on-year performance was not comparable due to the timing of Easter and 2016/17 being a 53-week year.

Underlying like-for-like sales were down 1.3%. Booths said “the majority” of that decline came in the first six months of its fiscal year.

Booths has invested in the price of more than 250 basket staples in its drive to offer “greater value to customers”.

It said shoppers had “reacted positively” to the changes at the shelf edge, with transactions and sales “improving” during the second half of the year.

The grocer said it was planning to further develop its own-label range, which already includes more than 1,000 SKUs.

Chairman and chief executive Edwin Booth said: “I am very proud of the progress our teams have made in the last 12 months, improving the customer experience in stores, delivering great value produce, cultivating new markets and rediscovering what make Booths a special and unique retailer.

“Our focus, as ever, is to work with our colleagues to deliver the very best products, value and service to our customers.”

As previously reported, Booth pledged to “address a number of inadequacies” within the business after taking the reins from former boss Chris Dee last year.

The 170-year-old grocer, dubbed ‘the Waitrose of the North’, called in advisers last year to identify potential buyers, but it provided no update on that process.