Chairman Sir Ken Morrison said that the uplift confirmed 'steady sales progress' was being made. He also reiterated that he will retire next year and said that a deputy chairman will be announced 'in the near future'.
The retailer, which has been the subject of private equity bid speculation, insisted that it would keep hold of its real estate. Morrison said that the board was 'very conscious' of the value of investment in and retention of freehold property and 'intends to continue with this policy.'
'The majority of our estate is freehold, which provides us with a considerable degree of operational flexibility. We believe that owning our own properties is essential if we are to remain competitive and deliver sustainable growth,' said Morrison.
Panmure Gordon analyst Philip Dorgan was unimpressed with the update. He said: 'There has been an improvement in headline like-for-likes, but this still represents industry underperformance - hardly a recovery.
'There have been no bids because Morrisons' brand and property portfolio are significantly weaker than Sainsbury's and Tesco's.'