Like-for-like sales suffered a 6.3% slump in the 13 weeks to 2 November 2014 at under pressure supermarket Morrisons.

Despite insisting it had seen “continued progress on the three year plan”, total sales in the same period were down by 3.6%.

In March, Morrisons said that it was aiming to generate £2bn in cash and £1bn of cost savings in the next three years. Today it said it expects its underlying profit before tax to be in a narrower range of £335m-£365m (previously £325m-£375m), after £65m of new business development costs and £70m of one-off costs.

In an interim management statement, the company said: “As outlined at the interim results, it will take time for our initiatives to fully benefit our sales performance. In the meantime, we continue to see encouraging progress in all components of our strategy and in our volume-related key performance indicators (KPIs).

“Items per Basket continued to improve and was down 2.4% year-on-year, significantly better than the low of -6.9% in Q4 2013/14. Other operational KPIs also showed further improvement.”

The company added it’s recently introduced Match & More price match and points card was “proving extremely popular with customers”.

Meeting challenges 

Dalton Philips, chief executive, said: "Morrisons is meeting the challenges created by a period of intense industry competition and structural change with quick and decisive action. I am encouraged by the further progress we have made, especially on a number of key operational measures, cash flow and costs.

"The launch of the Match & More card was another big move for Morrisons. We are the only supermarket that is price matching the discounters and the successful launch last month was a testament to the positive way our 120,000 colleagues are delivering innovation and embracing the changes at Morrisons.

"We look forward to the key Christmas period focussed on offering customers the best in quality fresh food and value for money that Morrisons is famous for."