Morrisons sales growth continues despite inflation fears

The supermarket said its initiative to cut prices has seen more shoppers come through its doors

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The Independent Online

Morrisons’ efforts to turn around its business are paying off.

On Thursday, the supermarket reported better-than-expected sales growth shrugging off industry concerns over the impact of rising inflation.

Britain’s fourth biggest supermarket  said like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, rose 3.4 per cent in the three months to 30 April, compared to the same period last year, beating analysts’ expectations.

Sales including fuel were up 6.3 per cent for the period.

The supermarket said its initiative to cut prices has seen more shoppers come through its doors, with sales performing particularly well during  Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Easter.

The company admitted there was some inflation during the period, as imported food prices were affected by the post-Brexit slump in the value of the pound. However, despite cost pressures, the supermarket said it would remain focused on becoming “more competitive for customers”.

David Potts, chief executive, said the new financial year has started well.

“We are improving the shopping trip in many different ways, which is making Morrisons more popular and accessible for customers,” Mr Potts said.

“These new initiatives in-store, online, in wholesale and services are beginning to build a broader, stronger Morrisons.“

John Ibbotson, director of the retail consultancy Retail Vision, said Morrisons had everything to lose from the rise of discounters Aldi and Lidl but also praised David Potts for transforming the supermarket’s fortune.

“The introduction of the ‘Best’ premium own brand range and more healthy options has pulled in more affluent shoppers, and the focus on good value, fresh food has successfully driven a wedge between Morrisons and the discounters,” Mr Ibbotson said.

“Its turnaround is the product of attrition rather than alchemy, but is no less impressive for that,” he added.