Grocer Safeway reported net income for the first quarter ended March 24 increase to $81.6m (£50.2m) compared with $25.1m (£15.4m) in the same period last year.

Total sales rose 2.4% to $10bn (£6.1bn), while like-for-like sales excluding fuel remained flat.

Chairman and chief executive Steve Burd said: “Strong cost controls helped us meet earnings expectations despite a shift in the new year’s holiday, weather patterns and high gasoline prices, which dampened sales.

“In the last eight weeks, like-for-like sales have been running at 1% and we continue to believe sales will grow as our new marketing initiatives take hold.”