Morrisons has reported its like-for-like sales were up by just 0.1% over the six-week Christmas period to January 9, 2005.

The company said like-for-like sales were affected by a combination of competitor new store openings and one less trading day, but total sales for the Morrisons fascia increased by 31.9% for this period.

This includes the contribution from both new stores opened in 2004 and Safeway conversions.

Sales under the Safeway fascia for the period fell by 8.4% on a like-for-like basis, but the company said it has been encouraged by the increase in sales per square foot since conversion.

“We served our customers well in both Morrisons and Safeway over the Christmas and New Year period ensuring good availability which was well judged and resulted in minimal carry over of seasonal stocks particularly when compared with the residues experienced by Safeway 12 months ago,” said the company in a statement. “This has allowed us to present the stores in their best possible light in the post holiday period.”

Safeway stores converted to the Morrison format in 2004 totalled 56.