Morrisons is "working hard" to limit rising food costs

Morrisons has reported another quarter of rising sales as the supermarket said it '‹i'‹s working hard to limit the impact of '‹rising food costs for shoppers.

Thursday, 2nd November 2017, 7:49 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:09 am
Morrisons' CEO David Potts

The ​Bradford-based firm recorded like​-​for​-like sales growth of 2.5​ per cent​ in the 13 weeks to October 29, its eighth consecutive ​quarter of positive sales growth.

​Analysts welcomed the news.

Clive Black, head of research at Shore Capital, said: "In a clearly competitive UK grocery market characterised by positive mix and modest inflation, albeit flatter volumes, we see Morrison​s​ now delivering sustained year-on-year growth-on-growth as a real achievement of CEO, David Potts and his team.

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​"​The business is generating positive leverage but also investing to sustain top line progress, to us relative competitiveness may have improved in the quarter, supporting ongoing trading margins and building free cash generation. The ​g​roup’s balance sheet is amongst the strongest in the sector​."

Morrisons said that more customers walked through its doors to take advantage of its 'Price Crunch' and 'Way Down' campaigns as grocery chains battle rising import costs following the pound's collapse after last year's referendum.

"We again worked hard during the quarter to limit the impact of lower sterling on imported food prices," Morrisons said.

​Mr Potts said: "We are pleased with a further step up in our competitiveness and another period of positive like for like sales growth.

"I am confident our plans to keep serving customers better will enable us to continue the strong momentum of the year so far, into the important fourth quarter.

"As we work towards becoming a broader, stronger business, a new Morrisons is taking shape, built by our colleagues on firm balance sheet foundations."

​He said that the trend of customers switching to own brand products to save costs seen in the first half of the year has continued, which has benefited Morrisons.

On current trading, Morrisons said that Halloween helped drive a 25​ per cent​ increase in pumpkin sales.

Mr Potts has led a recovery of the grocery chain by investing in price cuts and calling time on under-performing stores.

In his latest attempt to reinvigorate the supermarket, Morrisons said in August that it will relaunch the Safeway brand after striking a deal with McColl's to supply the convenience store chain with groceries.

The partnership will see the supermarket supply Safeway and branded products to 1,300 convenience shops and 350 newsagents starting from January next year.