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Morrison: Christmas Sales Rose 6.3%

William Morrison Supermarkets, Britain's fourth-largest supermarket chain, said Wednesday grocery sales grew 6.3% in the six-week Christmas and New Year period, slightly ahead of the company's forecast.

Sales including fuel in the 49 weeks through Jan. 7 rose 6%, the company said in a statement.

Morrison said "the trading environment remains highly competitive."

Chief Executive Marc Bolland, who was recruited from Heineken NV in September, said his review of the business was on schedule and will be outlined at the group's annual results on March 15.

Morrison shares rose 4.5% to 282.25 pence (4.21 euros; $5.48) in morning trading on the London Stock Exchange.