Morrisons has revealed an 8.2 per cent rise in first-quarter like-for-like sales as bargain hungry customers flock to its lower-price offer.

In the 13 weeks to May 3 total sales, excluding fuel, grew by 9.2 per cent.

Morrisons chief executive Marc Bolland will say at the retailer’s annual general meeting today: “Our broadening customer appeal saw us welcome 500,000 more new customers each week to our stores during the first quarter. This is a particularly good result which is on top of the similar level of growth we reported in last years Q1 update.

“With shoppers increasingly attracted by our outstanding fresh food and our great value, we are taking the next step from national to nationwide.”

The retailer invested in a further 8,000 price cuts and more than 5,000 price promotions during the period. Its Value range was extended and the retailer said that market share gains from the premium food retailers meant its The Best range “achieved a good sales performance”.

So far this year, Morrisons has opened a further two stores. The grocer will integrate the Co-op and Somerfield stores this year, following the acquisition last year. The stores are closed for refurbishment and rebranding and will use the retailer’s Market Street format when they reopen. The first converted stores to open will be at Kingsbridge in Devon and Shefford in Bedfordshire in June.

The grocer added that, following a consultation period with its pension scheme members, it will close its final salary pension scheme for staff and switch to a system based on career average earnings.