Morrisons like-for-likes dipped 2.4%, excluding fuel, in its third quarter as it continues its push into convenience.

Total store sales edged up 1%, excluding fuel, in the period to November 3.

The grocer said the performance was in line with expectations and highlighted that it has a low exposure to the sector’s key growth areas of convenience and online, which continues to impact sales.

However, Morrisons said it was “progressing well” with its plans to develop a “significant presence” in these areas.

It is on track to open 100 of its M Local convenience fascias by the end of the year and has set a target of a further 100 in its next financial year.

Morrisons opened 69 M Local stores in its first half, of which half are in London and the Southeast. It said it is pleased with the stores’ performance.

Its new distribution centre in Bury will support the expansion of convenience stores across the Northwest.

Morrisons unveiled further details of its online launch in January next year. It will debut in Warwickshire, served by the Dordon warehouse it acquired from Ocado as part of its distribution tie-up, followed by Yorkshire, where it will use a Leeds delivery spoke.

By the end of 2014 it expects to be serving more than 50% of UK homes, including London.

Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips said: “We continue to grow our sales in this tough market while making great progress on our strategy to be a multichannel retailer.

“I said at the outset that our online offer would be unmistakably Morrisons and I’m very confident that the service we unveil in January will live up to that promise.”

The grocer said consumer confidence remained subdued and heavy promotions were being used across the industry.

Morrisons has pushed ahead with its Fresh Food format and will have converted 100 stores by the end of the year. It has also completed the first phase of its own-brand development programme, relaunching 11,000 products, and has started the second phase that focuses on driving efficiencies through its supply chain.

Morrisons launches its Christmas advertising campaign tomorrow with the theme “Go on it’s Christmas”. Its aim is to “help customers treat themselves” and their families this Christmas.