Safeway said sales have dipped over the last twelve weeks as uncertainty over its future continues in a five-way takeover battle and when compared to last year which included the Queen's Jubilee events and the World Cup.

Like-for-like sales for the first quarter were down 0.6% and slipped from 0.8% in the first six weeks.

The supermarket said if the figures had not been adjusted for the late Easter this year, like-for-likes would have risen 0.3% with total sales up 1.1%.

Chief executive Carlos Criado-Perez said: “We have made a solid start to the year, despite the distractions of the corporate situation, and we are achieving our objective of maintaining a broadly stable trading performance in Safeway.”

The company holds its AGM later this morning.