Morrisons has reported a 9.5% increase in like-for-like sales growth, excluding fuel, for the six weeks to 6 January, ahead of analyst expectations.

Total sales rose 11.6% excluding fuel during the period, Morrisons said, boosted by the introduction of a new discount scheme for staff, promotional deals and its advertising campaign focusing on fresh food.

It now expects full-year profit to be at the top end of expectations.

“These strong results are further evidence that our rigorous focus on freshness, service and value is striking a chord with shoppers,” said CEO Marc Bolland.

“We expect the market to remain competitive and we are cautious on the outlook for consumer spending. However, we believe that our strong value credentials will serve us well in these conditions,” he added.