Morrisons is on schedule to triple the number of operational M Local convenience stores to 100 by the end of the year.

The multiple today reaffirmed its commitment to the convenience channel as it reported a 1.6% drop in like-for-like total store sales in the six months to August 4.

It also announced a 10% drop in underlying profit to £401m, but total turnover was in line with last year at £8.9bn.

At present 33 M Local c-stores are now trading and “performing well”, with dozens more set to open this year, half of which will be in London and the South East. It has secured a new distribution centre in Bury to support M Local stores in the North.

Morrisons is also on target to launch its online food proposition in January 2014, in partnership with Ocado.

Chief executive Dalton Philips said: “Our strategy for growth in convenience and online is now set. We have made significant progress in building our presence in the key growth channels of convenience and online.

“ will be making home deliveries of our great fresh food by the end of January 2014, supported through our long-term service agreement with Ocado.”