Morrisons today claimed it had made a “solid start” to its new financial year – despite posting a like-for-like sales decline of 1.8%.

It said total sales had risen slightly by 0.8%, excluding fuel.

During the quarter six further stores were opened including two Morrisons M locals and 80 convenience stores were added to the pipeline. They are on track to meet their target of having 100 convenience stores open by the end of the year, with 20 opening in the first half.

The Fresh Format concept continues to be tailored to new and existing stores and will have been implemented in over 40% of the estate by the end of the current financial year.

Dalton Philips, chief executive, said:  “Our promotions have been more innovative and we are explaining Morrisons points of difference more effectively.

“These efforts were further reinforced by the horsemeat scandal which helped drive increasing customer recognition of Morrisons unique supply chain and approach to meat sourcing. They now understand the Morrisons is best placed to sell food that is what it says it is.”