MORRISONS has revealed sales continued to grow at its supermarkets during the last lockdown, with online revenue also on the increase.

Total sales for the Bradford-based supermarket including fuel were up 5.3 per cent in the 14 weeks to May 9 compared with a year earlier, including 113 per cent growth in online sales.

The chain says its customers have also embraced shopping online, and both and Morrisons on Amazon are now complementing its supermarkets well.

However, bosses said the surge in Covid-19 cases earlier this year cost the supermarket £27 million during the period to cover staff absences and extra store marshals.

Morrisons chiefs say they are seeing more of a return back to normal life started to be reflected in-store including a return to its petrol stations and a boost for its food-to-go sales.

With fuel sales included, which bosses said were almost back to pre-pandemic levels, Morrisons saw a 5.3 per cent jump as more motorists returned to the roads with lockdown restrictions easing.

The chain also expects a surge in sales when further lockdown restrictions are lifted next Monday and also to benefit from a summer of sport, including the football European Championships and the Olympics.

Morrisons says it will also re-open its 406 indoor cafes next Monday, during its first quarter sales trading statement call this morning.

David Potts, Morrisons chief executive, has reflected on 'a year like no other' but says the chain received a boost from events in the first few months of the year including Mother's Day and Easter.

He said: "We have made excellent progress in the last few months.

"We've had an encouraging start to the year, with positive like-for-like sales and some good momentum across Morrisons both on a one and two-year view.

"We said back in March that we expected to grow profits and reduce debt in the current year and I'm pleased to be both reiterating that guidance today and looking forward to a year of meaningful profit growth in 2022/23.

"Our forecourts are getting busier, we are seeing encouraging recent signs of a strong rebound of food-to-go, take-away counters and salad bars, and our popular cafés will soon fully reopen

"The pandemic is not yet over, but it is in retreat across the UK."

Plastic bags are also expected to be removed from all Morrisons stores across the country as the chain continues

Mr Potts says this stance has been warmly welcomed by people on social media.

He says the future looks bright for Morrisons as it continues to fight back.

Mr Potts said: "We’re looking to the future with confidence as we see the growing warmth and affection for Morrisons from our customers flow into every area of the business.

"Our increasingly special butchers, bakers, fishmongers and other food makers are helping to brighten shopping trips, and the growing reach of our online businesses is attracting new customers and broadening the appeal of new Morrisons."