United Kingdom supermarket Morrisons' sales rise for sixth straight quarter

Shoppers walk past a branch of the food retailer Morrisons in west London Britain

Shoppers walk past a branch of the food retailer Morrisons in west London Britain

The supermarket said like-for-like sales grew 3.4% in the three months to April 30, ahead of analyst expectations and an acceleration on the previous quarter's 2.9%. "These new initiatives in-store, online, in wholesale and services are beginning to build a broader, stronger Morrisons", he said.

A former executive of market leader Tesco (Frankfurt: 852647 - news), Potts joined Morrisons in 2015 tasked with reviving the group after it was badly damaged by the rise of discounters Aldi and Lidl in its northern England heartland.

Potts also flagged higher inflation because the pound's post-Brexit fall raised the cost of imports, but he added that the supermarket had cut prices on the products its customers most wanted to buy.

Morrisons, Britain's fourth-biggest supermarket chain, said on Thursday its turnaround was gaining momentum as it attracted more customers, enabling it to beat forecasts and report a sixth consecutive quarter of underlying sales growth. Total sales excluding fuel were up 2.8 per cent after the impact of last year's store closures.

In addition, "Morrisons at Amazon" was continuing to grow, the board said, with the same-day and one-hour delivery service recently extended into more London postcodes.

"We continue to serve our customers better, with satisfaction levels again improved, shorter queues during the busiest periods such as Easter, and our new ordering system successfully introduced across more of our range".

Morrisons also noted improved sales in its private label range, with its Nutmeg clothing offer launched in 50 stores and extended into baby and child accessories during the period.

The company, based in Bradford, England, said it served over half a million additional customers a week in its first quarter, a year-on-year rise of 4.6 percent.

Other operational highlights included the introduction of a new online and in-store "Food to Order" offer for spring/summer, allowing customers to pre-order for parties or other special events all year round.

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