Morrisons saw like-for-like (LFL) sales over Christmas down 5.6% (7.1% including fuel), in what it called a “disappointing” performance.

In the six weeks to 5 January 2014, total sales, excluding fuel, were down 1.9%. In the retailer’s latest financial update it said: “Difficult market conditions were intensified by the accelerating importance of the online and convenience channels, where Morrisons is currently under-represented.”

The retailer has just launched an online offering, with the first deliveries expected to commence in the Midlands tomorrow (10 January).

Dalton Philips, chief executive officer, said: “In a very tough market, our sales performance over Christmas was disappointing. However, we are firmly focused on driving our core business and accelerating our penetration of the fast-growing channels. 

“Our convenience business is building towards an operation of scale and the first food deliveries of will be made tomorrow, reaching half of UK households by the end of the year.”

Commenting on the multiple retailers’ Christmas trading performances, Andre Spicer, professor of organisational behaviour at Cass Business School, said: “Big retailers like Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Morrisons have fallen prey to four big mistakes: copying the competition, ignoring basic consumer psychology, resting on their laurels and not making enough of their retail footprint.”