Morrisons warns turnaround won't happen overnight as sales continue to fall

Grocer admitted its recovery will take time after it posted a 6.3% drop in like-for-like sales

Supermarket chain Morrisons has warned it will take some time for its turnaround plan to bear fruit as it revealed another big drop in sales as it grapples with an "intense" period of competition in the sector

The Bradford-based business admitted its recovery will take time after it posted a 6.3 per cent drop in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to 2 November.

The figure was better than the 7.4 per cent fall reported for the previous six months, while chief executive Dalton Philips said he was encouraged by the progress of initiatives designed to help the chain recapture market share.

As part of a wider plan announced in March to invest £1 billion in price cuts over three years, the company recently launched a new loyalty card scheme which promises to match prices at discounters Aldi and Lidl.

 

There have been signs that the strategy is starting to pay off after closely watched data from Kantar Worldpanel pointed to an improved sales trend.

Philips said: "Morrisons is meeting the challenges created by a period of intense industry competition and structural change with quick and decisive action."

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Morrisons set out a plan to generate £2bn of cash and £1bn of cost savings over three year in March.The supermarket said it now expects profits to be £335m-£365m, narrowing its range from the £325m to £375m previously stated.

Conlumino consultant David Alexander said: “With an unclear pricing strategy, Morrisons risks further undermining consumer confidence in its offer, which could prove fatal at a time when supermarket loyalty is at an all-time low.

If anything, Morrisons, and it is certainly not alone in this among the Big Four, is overly-focussed on what its competitors are doing," he added.

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