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Retail

Morrisons Sees Sales Fall In Christmas Trading Period

Morrisons, Britain's fourth largest supermarket group, reported another fall in underlying sales in its latest trading period encompassing Christmas, blaming a tough economic backdrop and consumer uncertainty.

The Bradford, northern England, based grocer said on Tuesday total group like-for-like sales, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, fell 1.7% in the 22 weeks to January 5 - a period that spans Morrisons third quarter to November 3 and the nine week Christmas trading period.

The outcome compared to analysts' average forecast of a decline of 2.2%, and a second quarter fall of 1.9% which was its first decline since 2016.

Profit Expectations

Despite the sales fall Morrisons said it expected to report profit for the full 2019-20 year within the current range of analysts' forecasts.

It said it had managed costs well throughout the period, offsetting some of the impact on underlying sales.

"It was encouraging that during an unusually challenging period for sales, our execution was strong and our profitability robust, demonstrating the broad-based progress we have made during the turnaround," commented David Potts, the group's chief executive.

"This was again down to the hard work of Morrisons exceptional team of food makers and shopkeepers. As always, we will take some learnings into the new year, and look forward to 2020 with a strong plan and solid foundations on which to continue to grow."

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