6th November 2014
The pressure on the UK’s supermarket sector is showing no signs of letting up as Morrison’s sales dropped back in the three months to November.
In its latest interim statement the troubled retailer announced that in the 13 weeks to 2 November 2014, total sales excluding fuel were down by 3.6% and like-for-like sales were off by 6.3%.
The fall was however less severe than what it endured in the previous two quarters when sales dropped respectively by 7.1% and 7.6%.
The market however clearly welcomed the slightly better news and shares in the firm, which is the UK’s fourth largest supermarket chain, rose by 10.9p, or 7%, to 173.3p by 11.17am. But over the past 12 months, the stock is down a hefty 42%.
The big players in the UK’s supermarket sector are enduring a period of intense pressure as a result of the rise of the so-called hard discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.
Commenting on the latest set of numbers chief executive Dalton Philips said that the business, which is in the midst of a three-year restructuring plan, is “meeting the challenges created by a period of intense industry competition and structural change with quick and decisive action”.
He added: “I am encouraged by the further progress we have made, especially on a number of key operational measures, cash flow and costs.
“The launch of the Match & More card was another big move for Morrisons. We are the only supermarket that is price matching the discounters and the successful launch last month was a testament to the positive way our 120,000 colleagues are delivering innovation and embracing the changes at Morrisons.”