Safeway boss Carlos Criado-Perez this week offered the City more evidence that his recovery strategy is working. The supermarket group announced a 5% rise in like for like sales in the first 12 weeks of the year and said first quarter profit was ahead of the same period last year. Total first quarter sales were up 8.6% while comparative volumes rose 11.1%. Criado-Perez said: "Our ambition over the next few years is to at least restore Safeway's profits to their historic peak level through strong sales led growth." He said its regional deep price cut strategy was attracting more customers ­ up 11% on last year. It is taking business from all players, and now enjoys market share of between 9.4 and 10.3%. Analysts welcomed the figures ­ although Safeway's share price slipped back during the week on profit taking. {{NEWS }}