Morrisons boss David Potts has hailed the impact of its premium ‘Best’ ranges as the grocer posted a consensus-busting jump in Christmas sales.

Potts said the own-label lines “hit the spot” among shoppers who spent on “life’s little luxuries” during the festive season.

Morrisons became the first of the big four supermarket operators to update the market with details of its Christmas trading performance this morning, hailing a 2.8% uplift in like-for-like sales in the 10 weeks to January 7 – outstripping analysts’ predictions.

The grocer said improvements in availability, customer service and a drive to keep prices low all contributed to its success during the golden quarter.

But Potts highlighted the success of its ‘Best’ range in attracting spend from shoppers who wanted to treat themselves over Christmas and New Year.

“Consumers, certainly Morrisons customers, were very savvy,” Potts said.

“They are conscious of inflation in society this year and that, I think, heightens the need to be savvy.

“They wanted to spend on life’s little luxuries and I believe the 25% growth year on year indicates that ‘Best’, our premium range, hit the spot for that need.

“We provided good, competitive pricing just at the right times and I think the company has been rewarded by customer count numbers.”

Potts also hailed the performance of its clothing and general merchandise proposition, beating the non-food sales slowdown in the wider market.

According to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, non-food sales made in-store slumped 3.7% in total terms and 4.4% on a like-for-like basis during December.

But Potts said: “Nutmeg was another tick in the box.

“Baby and children was double-digit percent growth again. That brand is now across nappies, wipes and baby accessories and now feels like part of the furniture, really.”

He added: “In home and leisure, we replaced 1,407 items through the autumn, so that is settling down. But where we have got that going the right way in something like crockery, customers did tuck into that.

“So I think we’re onto something with home and leisure. It does take time to do that very, very well, but we’ve moved that category a long way.”