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Supermarket Morrisons has reported a rise in sales in the crucial Christmas shopping period.

The number four supermarket chain said sales had risen 3.6% in the nine weeks to 6 January, driven by a 3% rise in the wholesale division, which supplies Amazon and McColls.

In the stores, sales rose 0.6% – more than the 0.5% expected by analysts. The chain said it had “performed well, sustaining a strong offer and trading the business hard for customers”.

But retail sales are lower than in 1.3% in the third quarter and the 2.1% reported last Christmas. “We were again more competitive, with the price of our basket of key Christmas items the same as last year,” Morrisons said in its trading update.

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