Morrisons gives a strong start to festive trading updates from Big Four supermarkets

Shopping trolleys at the Morrisons store at Wymondham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Shopping trolleys at the Morrisons store at Wymondham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Holding back on price rises for customers helped supermarket Morrisons enjoyed an 'especially strong' festive season.

The Bradford-based chain posted a 2.1% rise in like-for-like sales in the 10 weeks to January 7 after resisting price hikes despite surging costs – with a basket of key Christmas items the same price as in 2016.

For the six-week Christmas and New Year period same-store retail sales rose by 2.8%, Morrisons said.

Group like-for-like sales excluding fuel increased 2.8% over the 10 weeks – including a 0.7% rise in wholesale trading – while online sales grew by more than 10%.

Morrisons kicks off the festive trading updates from the Big Four supermarkets with a better-than-expected set of numbers. Analysts had pencilled in a 1.7% rise in group comparable sales.

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: 'More and more customers found more things they wanted to buy at competitive prices at Morrisons this Christmas.

'Our plans to become a broader and stronger business are progressing well, with another period of positive like-for-like sales and the start of the rolling programme to supply McColl's,' he added.

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Morrisons shares lifted 4% after its better-than-expected trading update, sparking gains for rivals Sainsbury's and Tesco, up 3% and 1% respectively.