Morrisons beats analyst expectations with 17% profit rise

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Supermarket giant Morrisons has seen its levels of growth accelerate over the past year, marking its third consecutive year of rising sales.

In the 52 weeks to February 4, like-for-like sales excluding fuel and VAT rose 2.8 per cent, up from a 1.9 per cent rise a year prior, while total sales rose 5.8 per cent to £17.3 billion.

Pre-tax profits at the UK’s fourth-largest grocer over the same period rose nearly 17 per cent to £380 million, and 9.5 per cent to £374 million on an underlying comparative basis.

These figures came just above analysts’ expectations and maintained its position in the Big 4 despite continuing competition from discounters and online rivals.

In light of its better-than-expected results, the retailer said on Tuesday that it would be paying a special dividend of 4p per share, bringing the total pay out to 10.09p per share. This is nearly double its payout in 2017.

Though the sector continues to struggle with rising import costs and subsequent food price inflation, Morrisons’ largely British supply chain meant it was able to keep price rises surpressed.

“Morrisons is now entering its third consecutive year of growth, which is a credit to the whole team,” chairman Andrew Higginson said.

“We had a strong year, becoming more competitive and increasingly differentiating Morrisons for all stakeholders.

“All parts of our progress so far have one common link: our colleagues. Listening to customers, responding, and improving the shopping trip are as important now as when we started this turnaround three years ago.”

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