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Online takeaway marketplace Just Eat (JE) has reported a 28% jump in first quarter sales to £227.9m, despite a slowdown in UK sales.

Total year on year orders were up 21% to 61.4m in the three months to 31 March.

However, UK orders increased by just 7.4% to 31.9m as growth was held back by a strong comparative period, that included its Hungryhouse acquisition before integration, unseasonably warm weather in February and Easter falling entirely in the second quarter this year.

“We would expect an improvement in UK order growth during the remainder of the year,” Just Eat stated.

Outside the UK, orders grew by 40% to 29.5 million, fuelled by growth in Canada, Italy, Switzerland and Ireland

Canada continues to be the standout performer, the company said, delivering strong growth in the period and SkipTheDishes is on track to report its first full year underlying EBITDA profit, which “demonstrates the route to profitability for delivery”.

It added that its iFood platform continues to see “exceptionally strong” growth.

Overall, the group reiterated its guidance of full year 2019 revenue in the range of £1bn-1.1bn and underlying EBITDA in the range of £185m-£205m – both figures excluding its operations in Brazil and Mexico.

Interim CEO Peter Duffy commented: “Just Eat is on the right path to be the leading hybrid marketplace for online food delivery and we are confident in the delivery of our strategy. Many of our international markets have performed very well in the period although, as expected, we saw softer UK order growth in the quarter. We are making good progress and continue to execute at pace.”

Just Eat shares are down 3.2% this morning to 724.4p on the news.

Morning update

This week’s edition of The Grocer has in-depth analysis of collapse on the £12bn supermarket mega-merger between Sainsbury’s (SBRY) and Asda and what comes next for the pair after their industry-shaping merger was blocked by the CMA.

Also in The Grocer this week, Beyond Meat’s punchy IPO valuation despite ongoing losses, confectionery group Zetar back in the black, Business Growth Fund backs upmarket popcorn player Joe & Seph’s, meat snacks specialist The Curators receive seven-figure funding boost and more.

See this morning for all the details.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has dropped another 0.2% to 7,416.5pts so far today.

Early risers include Majestic Wine (WINE), up 2.1% to 263p, Hotel Chocolat (HOTC), up 1.4% to 359.9p and Greene King (GNK), up 0.9% to 688.9p.

Fallers so far this morning include PayPoint (PAY), down 1.2% to 997.5p, Stock Spirits (STCK), down 1.1% to 216p and DS Smith (SMDS), down 0.9% to 362p.

Yesterday in the City

The CMA’s decision to finally kill off the Sainsbury’s/Asda merger came as little surprised after its damning initial findings were published in February, but the reality of the collapse of the ambitious merger send Sainsbury’s shares to a new low.

The shares hit a new 30-year low of 212.1p soon after the news was announced, before recovering somewhat to 216p which represented a fall of 4.7% on the day.

Other supermarkets were also hit by the CMA’s hardline stance, suggesting room for further consolidation in the grocery sector is strictly limited.

Morrisons (MRW) was down 1.9% to 215.7p, Tesco (TSCO) dropped 1.3% to 248.4p and Ocado Group (OCDO), fell back 1.2% to 1,408.5p.

Overall, the FTSE 100 fell back another 0.5% to 7,434.1pts yesterday.

Risers included Devro (DVO), which rose 6% to 198.8p after announcing yesterday first quarter trading had been in-line with expectations, Majestic Wine (WINE), up another 4.3% to 257.5p on news it is exploring options for its retail outlets, McColl’s (MCLS), up 3.8% to 87.4p, Premier Foods (PFD), up 2.6% to 35.2p and PayPoint (PAY), up 2% to 1,010p.

Fallers included Finsbury Food Group (FIF), down 5.7% to 83p, WH Smith (SMWH), down 2.1% to 2,062p, British American Tobacco (BATS), down 2% to 2,982p., Greencore (GNC), down 2% to 221.5p, Total Produce (TOT), down 1.8% to 128.5p and McBride (MCB), down 1.7% to 107.4p.