Nov 3, 2016
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Supermarket Morrisons reports fourth straight sales rise

Nov 3, 2016

Morrisons, Britain's No. 4 supermarket group, on Thursday reported a fourth consecutive quarter of underlying sales growth, cementing a recovery under a new management team.

The company, based in Bradford in northern England, reported a 1.6 percent rise in third-quarter sales at stores open over a year, excluding fuel.

Morrison's turnaround on track with quarterly sales gain of 1.6%

The growth in sales for the 13 weeks to Oct. 30 topped analysts' forecasts of 1.0 to 1.5 percent though slowed from second-quarter growth of 2.0 percent.

Analysts on average forecast Morrisons to achieve a 2016-17 underlying pretax profit of 321 million pounds, up from 302 million in 2015-16.

Former Tesco executive David Potts joined Morrisons as chief executive in March 2015 with a remit to revive the group after it was hammered by the rapid rise of discounters Aldi and Lidl in its northern heartland.

He has reversed Morrisons' loss of customers by cutting prices, improving product quality and availability and bolstering store standards and customer service.

"We continue to improve the shopping trip which is attracting more customers, with like-for-like transactions again strong, up 4.1 percent," the firm said, adding that deflation in the quarter was 1.0 percent.

Potts has also overhauled Morrisons' online strategy through a renegotiated agreement with distributor Ocado and a wholesale supply deal with Amazon.

"We will keep investing in becoming more competitive and improving the shopping trip, and I am confident we will serve our customers even better during the important trading period ahead," he said.

Shares in Morrisons, up 49 percent this year, closed Wednesday at 221.3 pence, valuing the business at 5.2 billion pounds.

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