Back on the shelf: Morrisons to say whether £500m share buyback is on

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The Independent Online

City investors will this week find out if Morrisons, the supermarket chain, has shelved its share buyback programme worth £500m.

Rumours have suggested that chief executive Marc Bolland will say on Thursday that the poor environment and the need to maintain a strong balance sheet mean the programme has been scrapped. Nick Bubb, analyst at Pali International, said: "As usual, the outlook is key: sales are slowing as Asda hits back, and they blew away some gross margin at Christmas, so management could be under a bit of pressure." He said he believed the buyback would continue, "but they are bound to drag their feet on it".

Shares in Morrisons slumped by around 20p last week ahead of its results, closing at 239.75p.

Meanwhile, in a busy week for retailers, Greggs, Home Retail Group and John Lewis will all issue results to the market.

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