Morrisons hails Christmas sales performance

Supermarket group Morrisons said it was pleased with Christmas trading today after defying the weather to post another improvement in sales.

The UK's fourth biggest chain said like-for-like sales excluding fuel and VAT grew 1% in the six weeks to January 2 - up on City forecasts of between 0.5% and 0.8%.

While sales slowed from 1.3% same-store growth in the quarter to October 31, the group left its full-year profit expectations unchanged.

Chief executive Dalton Philips said the company had risen to the "twin challenges" of a difficult consumer environment and a prolonged spell of adverse weather and added: "This has been another good performance in a tough market."

The update, ahead of the end of Morrisons' financial year on January 31, comes at the start of an important week for retailers, which includes further updates from Tesco, Sainsburys and Marks & Spencer.

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Leeds, Sweet street, 28th March 1979'LIGHTING'Mr. Eddie Mullan, a lift engineer at the City of Leeds Public Works Department, Sweet Street, gives a last polish to one of the four old gas lamps that are to be sent to Germany.

Leeds nostalgia: Bits of old Leeds sent to Germany... in 1979