Morrisons to close 11 stores
Morrisons has reported that underlying pre-tax profit dropped by 35% to Â£117 million in its first half as it announced plans to close 11 stores.
In the six months to 2 August, like-for-like sales fell by 2.7%. Total turnover during the period was £8.1 billion, down 5.1% year-on-year.
Morrisons’ chairman Andrew Higginson said the supermarket had made good progress in starting its “turnaround journey” in the period following the appointment of David Potts as chief executive.
Higginson said: "David has very quickly formed a new team that combines the best of Morrisons home grown and external talent.
"Whilst the management team need time to settle in, make the changes they see as important, and build trading momentum, I believe the team will deliver much improved profits and returns for shareholders."
The news of the store closures follows an announcement that Morrisons has agreed to sell 140 M local convenience stores for £25 million to a team led by retail entrepreneur Mike Greene and backed by Greybull Capital.
Morrisons will retain five M local stores which are either on forecourts or will be converted to small Morrisons supermarkets.
Potts said: "The immediate priority is to deliver a better shopping trip to stabilise trading performance. Our six strategic priorities will then deliver improvement in the core supermarkets, where we have the greatest opportunity.
"It will be a long journey. We approach the challenge with energy, confidence and many strengths, particularly our strong balance sheet and cash flow, which enables investment in improving the customer shopping trip."
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