By Marcus Leach

Morrisons has made an encouraging start to its new financial year with sales growth continuing ahead of the market.

As anticipated the economic backdrop remains challenging. The high price of oil, together with increases in other commodity prices, has further compounded the existing pressures on consumers’ disposable incomes.

With the double bank holiday for Easter and the Royal Wedding the food store has attracted record numbers of customers.

In this period Morrisons has delivered another good performance. Total sales excluding fuel were up by 4.2% (7.3% including fuel). Like for like sales grew by 2.5% (5.8% including fuel).

In March Morrisons announced a programme to retire £1 billion of equity over the next two years. To date they have acquired 24.7 million shares at a total investment of £68.7 million.