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Morrisons' sales improve in fourth quarter

Thursday March 10th 2016

Morrisons has reported that its full year like-for-like sales excluding fuel fell by 2% although there was an improvement in like-for-likes in the fourth quarter.

In the year to 31 January, total turnover was £16.1 billion, down 4.1% year-on-year.

Sales improved throughout the year. In the second half, like-for-like sales excluding fuel fell by 1.3% compared to a first half decline of 2.7%. In the fourth quarter, like-for-like sales edged up 0.1% with the like-for-like number of transactions rising by 1.6%.

For the full year, pre-tax profit was £217 million compared to a loss of £792 million in the previous year when the company marked down the value of its properties. Underlying pre-tax profit before restructuring costs was £302 million which was within the supermarket’s £295 million to £310 million guided range.

Looking at its turnaround strategy, Morrisons said it had achieved its initial aims to begin stabilising like-for-like sales, lower costs and recruit new talent. It also said that customer satisfaction was improving following the implementation of its customer listening and informing strategy.

The supermarket said it expects to realise the remainder of its £1 billion three-year cost savings target during 2016/17 but that the turnaround will “take time”.

Morrisons chief executive David Potts, who has been in post for almost a year, said: "By improving the shopping trip for customers, we have started the journey to turnaround the business and make our supermarkets strong. Our listening programme is informing and shaping the six priorities that are now driving the improvements that customers are noticing.

"Our strong balance sheet and cash flow provide the platform for turnaround and growth, but what makes us truly unique as food maker and shopkeeper is the personality and dedication of our thousands of colleagues. I am confident these strengths will help us fix, rebuild and grow Morrisons."