Shares in Morrisons, the UK’s fourth-largest grocer, rose this morning (10 January) after the retailer reported a 1% rise in sales over Christmas.

Morrisons booked a 3.1% increase in total sales, excluding VAT and fuel, for the 6 weeks to 2 January; like-for-like sales were up 1%.

The most recent data from Kantar Worldpanel, covering the 12 weeks to 28 November, showed food inflation running at 2.8%.

Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips said the company had put in “another good performance” in what the Irishman described as “a tough market”.

“At Christmas, when customers are even more focused on great quality food at outstanding value, the Morrisons differences really stand out,” Philips said.

Shares in Morrisons were up 1.1% at 273p at 08:50 GMT this morning.

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By GlobalData

Morrisons is the first listed UK food retailer to publish its Christmas figures. Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco all report this week and each retailer will be scrutinised for their thoughts on the outlook for the UK economy in 2011.

Morrisons said it remained “well positioned to make progress” but warned of “challenging” economic conditions for consumers due to the VAT hike and public-spending cuts.

Click here for the full statement from Morrisons. Click here for Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips fending off claims that the retailer has lost momentum.