The Christmas and New Year trading period have helped to boost sales at Morrisons.
The Bradford-headquartered supermarket reported a 9.3% rise in like-for-like (LFL) sales excluding fuel over the festive period.
For the first 22 weeks of half two to 3 January, LFL sales excluding fuel were up 8.1% which comprised contributions from retail of 7.2% and wholesale of 0.9%.
Despite this rise, LFL fuel sales were down 23.1% – a decline the business attributed to the impact of tier restrictions put into place during the trading period.
Three new stores were opened during the period, at Helensburgh, Glenfield and Dalton Park, bringing the total opened to six this year.
The company said it expects profit before tax and exceptional items for 2020/21 to be in the range £420m to £440m, prior to a rates payment of £230m.
Chief Executive David Potts said: “The pandemic has had a severe effect on people and communities around Britain for nine months now but it has been especially hard at Christmas time.
“I’m very pleased with the way the Morrisons team has helped our customers across the nation enjoy their Christmas in the best way they could – with safe shopping, great service and outstanding stores even in the most difficult circumstances.
“But I’m even more proud of the broader contribution that the Morrisons team has made to the communities we serve – through foodbank donations, doorstep deliveries to the vulnerable, discounts for key workers, the work of our 500 community champions and the countless small acts of kindness that have made a particular difference this year.”