Morrisons has welcomed “strong” sales over the Christmas and New Year period, with group like-for-like sales rising to 9.3% over the festive season.
It comes as group like-for-like sales rose by 8.1% in the 22 weeks ended 3 January 2021, comprising contributions from retail of 7.2% and wholesale of 0.9%.
In its latest trading update, the group said that customer and brand metrics have improved, its market share has grown, and online and wholesale channels are “growing very rapidly”. It now looks forward to sustaining this strong momentum into the new year”.
The group noted that shopping patterns and customer behaviour have changed in light of Covid-19 restrictions, which have made larger gatherings of family and friends in the period more difficult.
It found that customers were shopping earlier in the run-up to Christmas than in previous years, with a “renewed focus on traditional Christmas fare”.
In addition, its doorstep delivery service completed over 35,000 orders in the two weeks before Christmas, as online sales continued to be “very strong” for the group.
Wholesale was also profitable throughout the period. Together with growth in its other wholesale channels, wholesale like-for-like growth was 24.4% so far in Q4.
Looking ahead, the group still expects its full-year pre-tax profit and exceptionals to be in line with previous expectations, in the range £420m to £440m.
David Potts, CEO, 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.”
He added: “We will carry on listening, responding and growing, and take all the positive learnings and momentum of the most challenging of years into what we believe will be a better 2021 for all.
“I would like once again to thank everyone at Morrisons for their hard work, dedication and resourcefulness under the most testing and extreme conditions, which has been inspirational even beyond this business and the stakeholders we serve.”