A record sales surge in the week before Christmas brought relief to supermarket group Morrisons after "muted" demand earlier in December.
The Safeway takeover weighed on Morrisons finances
The chain, which late last year celebrated a return to profit as part of its recovery, saw sales up 6.3% on a year ago in the six weeks to 7 January.
It also said it that the number of products it had been forced to throw away or reduce in price was 20% lower.
Shares rose 5% on the news, despite a warning trading would remain tough.
The latest TNS Worldpanel data shows that Morrisons is the fourth-biggest UK supermarket, with an 11.3% market share, behind Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda.
Including fuel, like-for-like sales - which strip out the impact of new stores - were up 6% in the period. Morrisons said the results were "slightly above" expectations.
The Bradford-based group took over Safeway in 2004 - the integration of which had pushed it into the red.
Head of UK equities at Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers, Richard Hunter said that "painful" integration was "slowly becoming a distant memory".