Morrisons said its Christmas trading performance was “disappointing” as like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, fell by 2.5%.

In the six weeks to 30 December 2012, the national supermarket business said the festive period had continued to be challenging, as total sales declined by 0.9%

In a statement as part of a Christmas trading update, the company said: “Notwithstanding these difficult market conditions, which we expect to continue through 2013, our sales performance in the period was disappointing.”

The firm added that it would need to improve its promotional activity, as well as accelerate its presence in online and the convenience market, as a result of the drop in sales during these six weeks.

Dalton Phillips, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “Our 130,000 colleagues have done an outstanding job serving our customers great value food this Christmas, and I would like to thank them for their dedication and hard work. In a difficult market our sales performance was lower than anticipated, but we have a strong business and significant opportunities to advance our strategy, as we accelerate our multi-channel offer.”

Morrisons said the outlook for its full-year financial performance will be broadly in line with the board’s expectations.