MORRISONS has announced it is closing four stores across England due to their under-performance.

The Bradford-based chain is shutting branches in Wigan, Crawley, Swindon and Solihull.

The move comes after a review of the performance of its stores.

A Morrisons spokesperson said: “As we continue to focus on building a broader, stronger Morrisons we are constantly reviewing opportunities for new stores and the performance of our existing estate.

"We are planning to invest in four new stores this year and are today, regrettably, proposing to close four.

"We will now be going through a consultation process at the stores and will be discussing how to reduce redundancies and, where possible, redeploy our highly valued colleagues within the business.”

Morrisons was one of the supermarket chains which failed to beat last year's bumper summer, according to new figures which show that grocery sales were flat during the last three months.

In the 12 weeks to August 11, year-on-year supermarket sales were flat, data from Kantar revealed.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: "The memory of last year still looms large for retailers and this summer's comparatively poor weather, combined with low levels of like-for-like price rises, have made growth hard to find for retailers.

"July's hottest day on record wasn't enough to shift the market into growth, but the grocers will have been encouraged by glimpses of better weather during the past four weeks which helped boost sales of summer staples like hayfever remedies, suncare and burgers by 17%, 8% and 5% respectively."

All of the "Big Four" supermarkets - Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco - saw a dip in sales and smaller market share during the period.

Sainsbury's showed the smallest dip in the cohort of 0.6%, driven by higher levels of promotion which helped boost sales of branded goods.

Meanwhile, Ocado was the fastest-growing UK grocer, notching up a 12.6% rise.

But the online supermarket only accounts for 1.4% of the market.

Lidl's growth was the next fastest, at 7.7%, to give the discounter a record total market share of 5.9%.

Rival Aldi posted a 6.2% increase in sales, supported by an 11% rise in bakery products and a 13% increase in biscuits.

Nearly half of all households in the UK shopped in an Aldi during the last 12 weeks.