Morrisons has secured a lease on a new distribution centre in Swindon, Wiltshire, to improve its supply chain in the south.

The new depot would also lead to a "considerable reduction" in food miles.

"Whilst only a partial solution to our overall requirements for the south, this represents a good first step," said Morrisons chairman Sir Ken Morrison at this week's AGM.

The retailer also revealed like-for-like sales growth, excluding petrol, for the 15 weeks to 20 May of 4%.

However, analysts were disappointed that there had been no progress in appointing a deputy chairman who will succeed Sir Ken when he retires in 2008.

"Two months ago, they were making good progress, and we wonder whether Sir Ken is perhaps dragging his feet," said Greg Lawless, retail analyst at Teather & Greenwood.

Morrisons said it was on track to open eight new stores this year. The first will open at Speke, Merseyside, on 9 July.