Morrisons has reported pre-tax profits have hiked 30% to £858m, up from £655m, in its full year results ending January 31.

The grocer reported like-for-like sales excluding petrol and VAT up 6%. Turnover was up 6% to £15.4bn.

Morrisons chairman Sir Ian Gibson said: “Morrisons had another good year. Once again our focus on fresh food and great value appealed to shoppers everywhere, and we have successfully grown sales and profits to record levels. We completed delivery of the Optimisation Plan first launched four years ago, and we are well on the way to cementing our position as the Food Specialist for Everyone. The opening of 43 new stores  in the year accelerated our journey from National to Nationwide.”

Morrisons said its average weekly customer numbers are up 7%. It also said its new chief executive, Dalton Philips, will join on March 29. He moves from Loblaw in Canada.

Gibson added: “We expect the economic environment to remain challenging, disposable incomes to be under pressure and value to remain a high priority for consumers. The board believes that Morrisons unique offer of high quality, fresh food at great value prices will continue to attract customers from our competitors and drive market share growth in the year ahead. For the longer term, we will continue to utilise our balance sheet strength to invest for growth, with new space, new manufacturing capability and new systems priorities in the year ahead.”