Morrisons' Quarterly Sales Up Strongly, Slightly Misses Forecasts
Morrisons, Britain's fourth largest supermarket group, on Tuesday reported a 5.6% rise in quarterly underlying sales, though its rate of growth was slightly behind forecasts and a touch slower than in the previous period.
The Bradford, northern England, based grocer said total like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, rose 5.6% in the 13 weeks to 4 November, its fiscal third quarter - a twelfth straight quarter of underlying growth.
The performance compared to analysts' average forecast of growth of 6.1% and growth in the previous quarter of 6.3%, which, helped by hot weather and the soccer World Cup, was its best sales performance in nine years.
Morrisons said it had expected a slight easing in like-for-like sales.
David Potts, chief executive since 2015, has overseen a steady improvement in trading through more competitive prices, improved product ranges and availability as well as better customer service in refurbished stores, pushing Morrisons' shares 18.5% higher so far this year.
Potts has also overhauled Morrisons' online strategy through a renegotiated agreement with distributor Ocado and struck wholesale supply deals with Amazon and the McColl's convenience chain.
Prior to Tuesday's update analysts were on average forecasting an underlying pretax profit of £409 million ($534.2 million) for the full 2018-19 year, up from £374 million in 2017-18.