Morrisons has seen sales growth slow after summer trading was boosted by hot weather and the World Cup.
Group like-for-like sales excluding fuel were up 5.6% in the 13 weeks to November 4.
This was slightly lower than the 6.3% growth recorded in the previous quarter as the football and hot weather encouraged shoppers to stock up on food and drink.
The number of transactions was almost flat in the group’s third quarter, whereas summer trading saw 2.6% growth. The group’s retail division therefore made a smaller contribution to overall like-for-like growth.
But sales growth remained strong thanks to the supermarket’s rapidly growing wholesale arm.
The division contributed 4.3% to overall like-for-like growth in the third quarter, compared to 3.8% in the second quarter and just 0.4% this time last year.
Morrisons plans to expand the business even further with a forthcoming deal to supply MPK Garages. This adds to an existing list of partners including Rontec, Sandpiper and McColl’s.
Analysts at Jefferies said that the growth figures were slightly below expectations, but still “confirm solid progress in a sector-relative context” amid an industry-wide cooling of sales since the summer.
Chief executive David Potts said: “After another period of strong growth, and with more customers enjoying shopping at Morrisons, we have now completed three years of positive like for like.
“Our exceptional team of food makers and shopkeepers are providing good-quality food at great prices, and building a broader offer in store, online and for our wholesale customers.”
The supermarket’s plans for the coming period include a wider vegan range and new children’s food brand.
Morrisons said it was looking forward to a “busy” festive period.