Morrisons has returned to profit, reporting a half-year pre-tax profit to 23 July of £134.2m, against a loss of £82.1m the year before.

The supermarket group also said that sales during the period had remained flat at £5.85bn, reflecting store disposals.

It added that like-for-like sales in the first eight weeks of the second-half increased 5.9% excluding fuel or 6.5% including fuel.

Sir Ken Morrison, chairman of Morrisons, said: “We have more customers now than ever before in our history. Our business is growing again, and we are well on track with our targeted profit improvements.”

He added: “Marc Bolland joins a business moving firmly in the right direction and I have every confidence that he will lead us to future success.”