Morrisons has reported like-for-like sales up 1% in the six weeks to January 2, saying it served an average of two million more customers each week over the Christmas period than five years ago.
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Total sales excluding petrol were up by 3.1%, and like-for-like sales including petrol were up 4%. The grocer said total sales excluding petrol have grown over five years by 47%.
Morrisons said its high quality food and value and a strong service proposition helped it deliver a “good performance”. It said its fresh-made products such as pannetone, turkey crowns stuffed with sage and onion, fresh salmon crackers with lemon, proved popular. It also said its Christmas collector card was “popular” with over one million customers.
Clive Black, analyst at Shore Capital, said Morrisons delivered a “solid” trading performance with like-for-likes at the top end of its narrow 0-1% range. However, he has downgraded from buy to hold ahead of its strategic update.
The board said its full year expectations remain unchanged. It said it will make progress in 2011 against an economic background in which the consumer is challenged and disposable incomes are under pressure.
Chief executive Dalton Philips said: “This has been another good performance in a tough market. At Christmas, when customers are even more focused on great quality food at outstanding value, the Morrisons differences really stand out.
“I’m very pleased with the way the whole business has risen to the twin challenges of a difficult consumer environment and a prolonged spell of adverse weather and really want to thank all our 130,000 colleagues for going above and beyond the call of duty again this year, to ensure we served our customers well during this critical time.”