UK retailer Morrisons has said that trading during the first few weeks of its first quarter was 'highly volatile', with the grocer seeing a 5.7% increase in like-for-like sales for the quarter.
For the period from 3 February to 10 May, Morrisons saw retail sales up 5.1% on a like-for-like basis, while wholesale sales rose 0.6%.
Group like-for-like sales including fuel, however, were down 3.9%, with fuel like-for-likes down 39.3%, and by 70% since lockdown measures were introduced.
Lockdown measures were implemented in week eight of the group's financial quarter, with the retailer capping in store numbers and the number of available checkouts in response to government guidelines, which had a 'negative' contribution to like-for-like performance for several weeks, it said.
However, in recent weeks, it has seen sales rise again as shoppers become used to the social distancing measures in-store – retail contribution to like-for-like sales in weeks 12 to 14 of the quarter was 9.6%, it added.
It has introduced protective screens around the till area of more than 6,500 checkouts, as well as implementing social distancing measures, marshal-controlled entry and exit procedures, and increased hygiene regimes at all stores, it said.
"We are facing into the unprecedented current challenges and are playing our full part to help feed the nation: working with determination, creativity and pace to serve customers as well as we possibly can," commented David Potts, Morrisons chief executive.
"The professionalism, enthusiasm and resourcefulness of our frontline key worker colleagues is extraordinary and is showing Morrisons at its very best. I'd like to thank every single colleague: you are Morrisons most important and most valued assets and are making a vital difference to so many people and communities across Britain."
The group has also enhanced its online offering, it said, more than doubling the number of weekly home delivery slots if offers, which is ahead of the 60% increase it had initially planned for.
It will also offer click-and-collect services from more than 280 stores by mid-June, up from just six in mid-March.
It has also 'significantly expanded' the Morrisons store on Amazon Prime Now, which will have been extended to more than 40 stores across the UK by the end of May.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine