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Morrisons’ turnaround gains momentum

Fourth largest supermarket chain confident strong sales growth will continue but warns of “uncertainties” surrounding imported food prices

Morrisons’ turnaround gains momentum

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Morrisons’ recovery is gathering pace, with the retailer registering its first full year of profit and like-for-like sales growth since 2012.

The UK’s fourth biggest supermarket registered an 11.6 per cent leap in pre-tax profit to £337m for the year ending 29 January, while like-for-like sales rose 1.7 per cent.

In the fourth quarter of 2016 the Morrisons grew by 2.5 per cent – the retailer’s strongest quarter for seven years – making it five consecutive quarters of growth for the retailer.

Morrisons, which has been reorganised by chief executive David Potts since his appointment two years ago, is now the fastest-growing of the big four supermarkets.

Under Potts there has been a focus on cutting prices through the retailer’s Price Crunch inititative, which has boosted customer visits.

Efforts have also been made to improve the supermarket’s fresh offering, with investment in the ‘Morrisons Makes It’ range of freshly prepared products

More recently, the retailer also extended its online delivery service with Amazon, enabling customers to order their groceries online for delivery within an hour in London and Hertfordshire.

However Morrisons is not getting carried away by the turnaround, hinting that it may be forced to increase the price of imported food if sterling remains weak.

“There are some uncertainties ahead, especially around the impact on imported food prices if sterling stays at lower levels,” the retailer wrote in its sales report. “We also expect depreciation and pension costs to increase, and we will continue to invest in colleague pay rates.”

Potts commented: “Our full year of like-for-like sales and profit growth was powered by listening to customers, and shows what our hard-working team of food makers and shopkeepers can do.

“But, it’s only one year. Our turnaround has just started, and we have more plans and important work ahead. If we keep improving the customer shopping trip, I am confident that Morrisons will continue to grow.” 

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