Morrisons has confirmed that it enjoyed a bumper Christmas after announcing a rise in like-for-like sales of more than 8% for the key festive period.

Like-for-like sales excluding fuel rose by 8.2% for the six weeks to 4 January, while total sales were up by 9.4%.

"I am pleased with Morrisons' excellent Christmas trading, having attracted 2.2 million extra customers with great fresh foods and industry-leading value," said chief executive Marc Bolland.

The performance establishes Morrisons as one of the major winners over Christmas, with Sainsbury's posting growth of 4.5% and Tesco notching up modest growth of 2.5%.

Morrisons' board said profits for the full year would be in line with expectations but warned that the group remained "cautious on the outlook for consumer spending" in a challenging environment.

The group has already announced plans to create an additional 5,000 jobs in 2009 as it seeks to develop its fresh food offering.

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