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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 07:27 GMT
Morrisons sees festive sales rise
Morrisons store
Morrisons' festive trading was ahead of market expectations
Morrisons has reported that its same-store sales excluding fuel rose 2.8% over the key Christmas period, just ahead of market expectations.

Covering the six weeks to 8 January, the supermarket group said sales at its 220 former Safeway stores, again not including fuel, were up 9%.

Yet like-for-like non-fuel sales at its core Morrisons outlets were down 2.9%.

The UK's fourth largest supermarket, Bradford-based Morrisons bought rival Safeway back in March 2004.

It has since struggled to assimilate the former Safeway network, and its shares have dropped 17% over the last year.

The company also said on Wednesday that it now expects its annual results to be in line with market expectations.

First loss

Earlier this week it confirmed it was to close two depots in Kent and Bristol, which together with the earlier closure of a further depot in Warrington will mean the loss of more than 2,000 jobs.

Morrisons said it now had more depots than it needed to supply its stores.

On Wednesday it said the closure of the three depots would mean a one-off charge of 60m, which it will take this year.

Back in October, Morrisons posted its first loss in its 106-year history, which it blamed on the cost of integrating Safeway.

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