Morrisons has reported a 4.6% rise in like-for-like sales excluding petrol for the 25 weeks to 23 July.

In a trading update released this morning, the supermarket group also said that like-for-like sales including petrol increased 6.6%.

In the nine weeks since its annual general meeting held at the end of May, like-for-like sales increased 6.1% excluding fuel, or 7.5% with fuel.

However, total sales for the 25 weeks to 23 July decreased 2.2% excluding fuel, or rose 0.1% including fuel. Morrisons said that this reflected the impact of its significant store disposal programme last year.

Sir Ken Morrison, chairman of Morrisons, said: “The board is pleased with the progress being made towards the delivery of our optimisation plan targets, in particular our goal to improve gross margin by 90bps over three years, which is being delivered ahead of plan.”