Chief executive Charles Wilson told the FWD conference that the rate of decline, which peaked at 5.6% in the six months to September 2005, would be 0.2% for the half-year ending March 31. The company expects to return to growth in the new financial year.
"The recovery plan has worked and we have reduced our debt substantially," he said. "Our customers are happy and we are introducing new-format branches and a new website."
Wilson predicted that products requested by new communities, such as Polish beers stocked for the estimated 1.5 million Poles in the UK, would soon move to the mainstream as other consumers discovered them on the shelves.