UK wholesaler and food retailer Big Food Group has said it made a satisfactory start to the year with sales trends improving despite still being lower than last year.

The company, which owns the Iceland frozen food chain and Booker wholesale business, reported a 0.5% slide in group same-store sales for the 13 weeks to 27 June, compared to a 2.8% fall in the previous quarter.

“It’s a solid performance, moving in the right direction. The figures were in line with our expectations,” chief executive Bill Grimsey told Reuters.

Like-for-like sales at Iceland were down 1.6% in the first quarter after adjusting for the late Easter this year. That compares with a fall of 2.1% in the previous quarter.

Underlying adjusted sales at Booker, which accounts for two thirds of group turnover, fell 1.2%.