680 jobs at risk despite increase in Morrisons' sales

Morrisons is to close seven stores Credit: Press Association

Bradford-based supermarket Morrisons has announced it is to close seven stores, despite a surprise rise in sales over the festive season.

680

jobs are under threat from the latest store closures.

The supermarket chain said it was shutting the branches "with regret", but stressed they were not profit-making and were among its smaller outlets, at under 15,000 square feet. It will have around 490 stores after the closures.

The announcement comes on the same day as the grocer reported a 0.2% rise in like-for-like sales excluding fuel in the nine weeks to January 3 - the chain's first rise in sales in around four years, and a marked turnaround after recent hefty sales declines.

Morrisons said its overall sales rise came mainly after an improvement from its core stores, although online sales also contributed to the growth.

Strong sales of beer and wine helped the chain to notch up its festive sales increase, while it added that its clothing fared well, as did its premium food range.