Morrisons posts sales rise but inflation ‘disappointingly and stubbornly high’

The private equity-owned retailer reported that group like-for-like sales, excluding fuel and VAT, were up 1% over the 13 weeks to April 30.

The boss of Morrisons has cautioned that shoppers still face “disappointingly and stubbornly high” inflation as the supermarket saw sales tick higher.

The private equity-owned retailer reported that group like-for-like sales, excluding fuel and VAT, were up 1% over the 13 weeks to April 30.

However, total group revenues were down 0.9% to £4.5 billion for the quarter due to a decline in fuel sales.

It comes as the company, which was bought US investor Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) in 2021, seeks to regain ground on German discount supermarket chains which picked up more customers during the cost-of-living crisis.

Morrisons price cuts
Grocery sales at Morrisons increased over the past quarter (Morrisons/PA)

Morrisons reported a slump in sales last year amid pressure on household budgets and saw rival Aldi overtake it as the UK’s fourth largest supermarket as a result, according to data from Kantar.

Nevertheless, the 1% sales increase represents a positive sales trajectory for the Bradford-based group, following 0.1% growth over the first quarter of the financial year, which had been its first quarterly sales rise for two years.

Morrisons has benefited from recent investments into pricing, which included fresh cuts to the price of 47 products earlier this week.

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said the retailer has made continued progress but stressed that customers’ budgets are still under pressure.

He said: “Although we are still in the foothills of our new journey, we are making good progress in our plans to develop a broader, stronger Morrisons built on traditional values with modern methods.

“The momentum we reported in the first quarter has continued with further progress in our like-for-like sales and in our price competitiveness.

“Inflation remains disappointingly and stubbornly high which means that customers are still very much on a budget.

“Through the quarter we continued with our programme of large-scale price-cutting campaigns, complemented by quick, tactical price cuts in areas where we can see the early signs of inflation easing.”

Morrisons also held its financial guidance that earnings will be “up” at the end of the year and debt will be lower.

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