Sales at Safeway slipped to $9.99bn (£6.62bn) during the first quarter ended March 23, from $10bn (£6.31bn) the previous year.

Net income increased 63.1% to $118.9m (£78.8m). Identical store sales were up 1.5% during the period, including a 0.4% positive impact because of a calendar shift, meaning New Year holiday sales fell into the first quarter.

“We are pleased that we continued to see market share gains in the first quarter,” said chief executive Steve Burd.