Morrisons silent on Sainsbury’s-Asda merger as Q1 sales jump 3.6%

Morrisons update

Morrisons has beaten forecasts in its first quarter, but its trading update made no reference to the recently-announced Sainsbury’s-Asda merger.

For the 13 week period ending May 6, Morrisons said group like-for-like sales excluding fuel were up 3.6 per cent, a better-than-expected figure that was boosted by expansion in its wholesale operations thanks to a new partnership with McColl’s.

The figure was also comprised of contributions from retail of 1.8 per cent and wholesale of 1.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, group like-for-like sales including fuel was up 1.9 per cent, and total sales were up 3.8 per cent excluding fuel or 2.1 per cent including fuel.

“We are pleased to have made a strong start to the year, again becoming more competitive for customers while delivering growth on growth,” chief executive David Potts sad.

“We expect to continue to improve in the year ahead.

“During a busy period of exciting new ranges, new store openings, strong supermarket and wholesale growth, and the peaks and troughs of the seasons, our colleagues once again did an outstanding job for customers.”

Morrisons – the UK’s fourth-biggest grocery retailer – said its expectations for the 2018-19 year were unchanged.

However, its trading update made no reference to last week’s proposed £12 billion merger of Sainsbury’s and Walmart-owned Asda – the UK’s second and third largest grocers respectively.

The merger was unveiled on April 30, within the period of Morrisons’ first quarter.

The deal would not only overtake market leader Tesco, but when the market share is combined, the new Sainsbury’s-Asda entity and Tesco could potentially swallow up around 60 per cent of the UK’s grocery industry.

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