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Morrisons turnaround continues as profits jump

Led by chief executive David Potts, Morrisons has continued its rebound from the dark days of 2015, reporting strong full-year numbers this morning. This comes on the back of a bumper Christmas and Kantar Worldpanel’s latest grocery market share figures, which pegged Tesco and Morrisons as the fastest growing of the Big Four supermarkets.
 
Pre-tax profits increased by 11% to £374 million on sales up 5.8% at £17.3 billion. Like-for-like same store sales rose 2.8% (compared with +1.9% recorded in 2016-2017).

This was slightly ahead of City analyst forecasts (they had been expecting Morrisons to report a 10% rise in pre-tax profits and a like-for-like sales increase of 2.7%). 
 
Andrew Higginson, chairman, said that the retailer was “entering its third consecutive year of growth.” There have, however, been challenges along the way and a £10 million downturn in operating profit to £458 million was posted. 

Like the rest of the Big Four, Morrisons has been battling with higher cost inflation and weaker consumer confidence following Brexit, as well as the rise of discounters Aldi and Lidl.

However Potts stressed that the company “will continue to prioritise consistent, meaningful and sustainable growth, which I am confident we are well placed to keep delivering.”
 
He added: “We had a strong year, becoming more competitive and increasingly differentiating Morrisons for all stakeholders. We are pleased to be paying shareholders a special dividend of 4p a share, which reflects our good performance so far and confidence for the future.

“All parts of our progress so far have one common link: our colleagues. Listening to customers, responding, and improving the shopping trip are as important now as when we started this turnaround three years ago.”