Morrisons continued to see strong sales in the past three months as the supermarket benefited from remaining open during the most recent Covid-related lockdowns.

Sales in the 14 weeks to May 9 grew 2.7% on a like-for-like basis, excluding fuel, including a 113% jump in online sales.

Morrisons store (Mark Mann-Bryans/PA)

The group also enjoyed strong growth in its wholesale division – up 21% – thanks to a new partnership with McColl’s convenience stores, where Morrisons supplied products to 230 extra sites in recent weeks.

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Around 1.1% of the like-for-like growth came from the wholesale business, with the rest from its stores.

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

But prior to the easing of lockdowns, the supermarket revealed it had to spend an extra £27 million in Covid-19 costs during the past three months to cover for staff absences and store marshals.

Morrisons boss David Potts said it was an encouraging start to the year. (Morrisons / PA)

Chief executive David Potts said: “The pandemic is not yet over, but it is in retreat across Britain and there is much to be positive about as something approaching normal life begins to take shape.

“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 cafes will soon fully reopen.

“The nation has a summer of socialising and sport to look forward to and we’ll all be able to rediscover the joys of meeting up and eating well together.”