Morrisons has reported a group like-for-like sales increase of 3.6% (excluding fuel) in the 13 weeks to May 6, comprising equal 1.8% contributions from its retail and wholesale businesses. 

The retailer, which signed a wholesale supply deal with McColl’s last year, said it had “again improved” its competitiveness, and opened two new stores in the period. 

Inflation was broadly flat and volume growth accelerated over the 13 weeks, the multiple added. Total sales rose 3.8% excluding fuel, and 2.1% including fuel.

“We are now open for business as a wholesaler, and started supplying our new partner McColl’s through a rolling programme of around 25 stores per week during the first quarter,” chief executive David Potts said.

“These stores receive a full fresh, frozen and ambient offer from Morrisons, comprising both brands and the new Safeway range.

“In addition, we are supplying some McColl’s stores with tobacco and some ambient products slightly earlier than we initially planned. Overall, all our wholesale supply initiatives contributed 1.8% to Group LFL, and we are on track for our targets of £700m of annualised sales by the end of the year and £1bn in due course.”

“We are confident of another strong year ahead,” Potts added. 

Morrisons has launched a number of new brands recently, including Savers, its lowest-priced own label range, initially comprising almost 300 ambient, chilled and frozen items, and Wonky, the new brand of low-priced, quality fruit and vegetables which minimises waste.