Morrisons delivers 'solid' quarter

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The Independent Online

Morrisons has warned of a "tough Christmas" for the retail sector, as a rise in food inflation helped the UK's fourth biggest grocer deliver an uptick in sales in the third quarter.

The Bradford-based supermarket delivered sales, excluding petrol and VAT, on stores open at least one year up by 1.3 per cent for the 13 weeks to 31 October, compared to growth of 0.9 per cent in the first half. Richard Pennycook, the finance director of Morrisons, said: "This is a solid performance in a difficult consumer environment."

Total sales, excluding fuel jumped by 2.8 per cent.

Morrisons has launched a Collector Card voucher scheme for the third year running to drive Christmas sales, but will extend it into January to encourage consumers to continue spending.

Mr Pennycook said: "All the retailers will tell you Christmas is going to be tough. The consumer will benefit from some really strong deals out in the market place this year."

He added that hard-pressed consumers will continue to focus on value for money next year. "It's a difficult environment. People will enjoy Christmas but 2011 will be all about value."

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