Somerfield posted a 1% rise in group like-for-like sales but admitted that its “pace of recovery was not fast enough”

For the year to April 26 pre-tax profit rose 24% to £34.8m due to net profit of £9m from property disposals. Turnover at the group, which operates the Somerfield and Kwik Save fascias was up to £5bn from £4.96bn last year.

Like-for-like sales growth at Somerfield was 0.9%, with Kwik Save like-for-like sales up 1.2% and group like-for-like sales up 1%.

In the first nine weeks of the current year, Somerfield, Kwik Save and group like-for-likes rose 1.1%.

Somerfield said it was focusing on cost control with target cost savings of around £100m over the next three years, to be reinvested “to improve the customer offer".

Chairman John von Spreckelsen was confident that the delivery of the refocused group strategy was “already seeing good returns from past years' investment in store refits and product development". And expects sales growth to “gather momentum as this investment continues”.

The group did not elaborate on its decision last month to reject a 120p per share offer from retail entrepreneur John Lovering which valued the group at £590m.