Morrisons has admitted to “disappointing” festive trading after reporting a 2.5% drop in like for like sales for the six weeks to 30 December.

Total sales fell 0.9% as consumers shopped to a budget and relied increasingly on vouchers.

“Notwithstanding these difficult market conditions, which we expect to continue through 2013, our sales performance in the period was disappointing,” the retailer said in a statement today.

It also said its performance reflected the need to improve its promotional innovation and the communication of its points of difference, as well as highlighting the growing importance of the online and convenience channels.

“Our 130,000 colleagues have done an outstanding job serving our customers great value food this Christmas and I would like to thank them for their dedication and hard work,” said Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips.

“In a difficult market our sales performance was lower than anticipated, but we have a strong business and significant opportunities to advance our strategy, as we accelerate our multi-channel offer.”

Meanwhile the retailer has promoted marketing director Nick Collard to the new position of group marketing and customer director.

Collard will be appointed to the management board in June will responsibility for marketing, own brand ranges, insight, loyalty, customer relationship management and format. Casper Meijer who is set to join Morrisons as group trading director by the end of the first quarter of the year will lead the other commercial functions.

Own brand director Belinda Youngs has also been promoted to corporate brand marketing director reporting to Collard.

“Nick’s doing a great job in taking our marketing forward and now has the opportunity to lead one team integrating our own brand and customer engagement<” said Philips. “The recent announcement of our partnership with Ant and Dec is a great sign of how Nick’s team can showcase the talent of Morrisons colleagues and the value they offer our customers.”

Collard joined Morrisons from Boots two years ago, where he was brands director. He is seem as a rising star within the business.