UK grocery retailer and takeover target Safeway has posted a small slide in fourth-quarter sales and said yearly profits would be at the low end of expectations.

Safeway reported a 0.1% dip in like-for-like sales for the fourth quarter to 29 March, adjusted for the later date of Easter this year.

The retailer said its full-year pre-exceptional pre-tax profit would be around £335m (US$526.5m), at the lower end of market forecasts and lower than the previous year, reported Reuters.

Safeway, which has been at the centre of a bidding battle since January, has been trying to keep customers, suppliers and staff on side while facing an uncertain future.