Supermarket chain Morrisons has pledged to freeze the cost of top 100 items most commonly purchased at Christmas to the same prices as last year.
The Bradford-based grocer said that inflation was the top issue it had faced as a retailer during 2017 but pledged not to pass the cost on to customers when it came to the Christmas shopping basket.
It also revealed it will extends its premium The Best range to more than 1,000 items, including Gin & Tonic crisps, Scottish Salmon over Beechwood Chips - smoked in Grimsby - and a hand-finished Belgian Christmas Pudding Cake.
The news comes as the firm recorded like-for-like sales growth of 2.5 per cent in the 13 weeks to October 29, its eighth consecutive quarter of positive sales growth.
Chief executive David Potts said: “We are doubling last year’s Best Range in time for Christmas to more than 1,000 items.
“We promise to keep the broad basket of over 100 items that customers most rely on each year at no more than last year’s prices.”
He said this basket included things like Maris Piper spuds and turkeys, or as he put it “the 100 items customers find most important”.
“A classic mince pie, despite inbound inflation, is the same as last year.
“When you reflect and say ‘what has been the feature of retail this year?’ you could say inflation is the feature that this company has grappled with. So that’s an important pledge.”
Morrisons was one of the better performing supermarkets during last year’s Christmas trading and Mr Potts said the company, which has refit dozens of stores this year, was in better shape than last year going into the Christmas period.
“One of the reasons we had a good run at Christmas last year is we had a premium brand launch of Best, which means more reasons to shop at Morrisons and less reasons to go somewhere else.
“This year we are doubling the number of items within that to more than 1,000 so it’s a more broad ranger.
“Independent of anyone we have been acclaimed by consumers as the number one retailer in Britain for short wait times at the checkouts. We have come from a long way behind, 5th or 6th we were a couple of years ago. While we are not crowing about that we think it is important for consumers at a time of year when their time is very highly valued.”
He added: “Customers may chose to dial down on eating out and come shopping at Morrisons instead, so we have got plenty to look forward.
“We are in better shape this year than we were last year. We had a good Christmas last year but there’s more refits done, there’s more stock on the shelves, we are a bit more chipper and we are cracking on.”