Morrisons has reported a 65.8% increase in full-year pre-tax profit to £612m on sales up 6% to £13bn, as long-standing chairman Sir Ken Morrison retires.

Like-for-like sales for the year to 3 February rose 4.6% excluding fuel.

The chain's strongest growth came from Scotland and the south of England, and customer numbers had grown by an extra half a million a week, the supermarket said.

Sir Ken, who has worked at Morrisons since finishing national service in 1952, will take up the ambassadorial role of honorary president.

Morrisons also confirmed it will return £1bn to shareholders through a share buy-back programme.

“This has been a strong year for Morrisons with growing customer numbers,” said CEO Marc Bolland.

“We have always delivered good availability and service. Now we are also recognised for our great fresh foods. We are well on track to becoming the food specialist for everyone.”

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