Friday 11 November 2016

Morrisons is on the road to recovery after Halloween


Morrisons is on its way to recovery process after Halloween.

Its turnaround under chief executive David Potts, the Tesco veteran who took charge in March last year when sales excluding fuel were falling by nearly 3 per cent, gathered pace as price cuts and a premium range brought in shoppers.

Like-for-like takings in the 13 weeks to October 30 not including fuel were up 1.6 per cent, while the 1.2 drop in overall sales reflected supermarket closures and its convenience stores market exit.

Potts hailed its "The Best" premium range, including a sell-out Cromer Crab macaroni cheese, as it targets sales from events and seasons.

He said Morrisons would be introducing many new Best items as festive treats, with its bakers expecting to produce about half a million Panettone Italian sweet bread loaves.

Halloween sales jumped 20 per cent from last year, as it shifted 1.2 million pumpkins and 140,000 fancy dress costumes.

Sales of Nutmeg clothing were up a quarter and should be in all stores by the end of its financial year.

<>Prices fell about 1 per cent as it countered fierce competition from the likes of Germans Aldi and Lidl and a recovering Tesco.

He said: "We feel we have reconnected with our core customer base. There is a lot more we plan to do. We will keep investing in becoming more competitive and improving the shopping trip, and I am confident we will serve our customers even better during the important trading period ahead.

"We need to have our wits about us. We are turning around this company so in the end whatever happens on price we have to figure out how we deliver value for money in the context of the sector and within our customers’ budget."

Morrisons was the first to raise the price of Marmite, passing on an increase by maker Unilever which rowed with Tesco over the cost of a falling pound.

<>Potts said: "Any price increase is with regret. We are continuing to crunch prices and have held down the price of hundreds of items in the past 40 weeks.

"We have prepared for the fourth quarter to be more competitive than last year and believe we have a good plan."

Morrisons shares rose 2p to 223½p.



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