Bid target Somerfield has reported a 6.4% increase in like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, for the 12 weeks up to, but not including, Easter.

The chain said it planned to open three stores next month as part of an ongoing store investment and regeneration programme. Some 250 stores would open in the next three years, with 50 planned to open this year.

Somerfield also revealed it had sold seven stores to Tesco because they were “not aligned with its overall strategic objectives”.