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Morrisons' comeback gathers pace

Supermarket reports strong set of six-monthly figures, with McColl's deal set to bolster its clout in the wholesale sector

Morrisons' comeback gathers pace

David Potts

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Morrisons has taken a further step on the road to recovery with a positive set of half-year results.

The supermarket chain reported group like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, up three per cent, with overall turnover rising 4.8 per cent to £8.4 billion. Underlying pre-tax profit was up 12.7 per cent to £177 million in the six months to 30 July.

Chief executive David Potts said the result reflected progress on the supermarket's three-pronged Fix, Rebuild and Grow strategy to build a "broader, stronger Morrisons".

He pointed to the fact that further cost savings had been achieved above the initial £1bn target and that its new store-pick online service has extended into north-east England. He also highlighted the extra reach brought about by the new wholesale supply agreement with McColl's, which will see the Safeway brand revived.

The McColl's deal means the group's total wholsale sales are expected to top £700m per year by the end of 2018, and eventually pass the £1bn mark.

"A new Morrisons is beginning to take shape," Potts said. "The capability of the team continues to improve and we are making strong headway with our plans to Fix, Rebuild and Grow. Our supermarkets continue their focus on improving the customer shopping trip and, in wholesale supply, we are beginning to realise some of the opportunities that our unique team of food makers and shopkeepers bring us."

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