Morrisons reveals growth ‘well ahead’ of rivals

Author: By Kelly Macnamara, Press Association

The supermarket chain said like-for-like sales, excluding fuel and VAT, were
up 4.3 per cent in the 13 weeks to 1 November, a slowdown from the previous
period as falling food inflation took its toll.

Its trading update follows yesterday’s announcement that boss Marc Bolland is
to defect to rival Marks & Spencer early next year.

Mr Bolland, who joined Morrisons in September 2006 as chief executive, has
been credited with reviving the fortunes of the supermarket chain.

Morrisons’ shares sank more than 5 per cent yesterday on the news of his
departure.

Today the supermarket paid tribute to its chief executive, but was adamant
that the show would go on.

Group finance director Richard Pennycook said: “We think we have had a pretty
good run and there’s more to come.”

He described working with Mr Bolland as “delightful”.

“He has been a great member of the team and we are sorry to see him go,” he
said.

“But it is a team here and we won’t miss a beat over Christmas.”

The UK’s fourth biggest supermarket said same store sales had been good in the
period, having already warned of a slowdown from 7.8 per cent in the first
half of the year as food inflation eased.

Total sales – excluding fuel and VAT – were up 9.1 per cent in the quarter.

“Sales continued to grow well ahead of the market, reflecting good
like-for-like growth and the contribution from the 37 stores opened so far
this year,” the firm said.

Mr Bolland said growth was driven by the firm’s “award winning combination of
outstanding quality, fresh food and great value”.

“I am pleased that more and more customers are attracted to Morrisons, as we
continue our journey from national to nationwide,” he said.

Bradford-based Morrisons said it had received a record 10.8 million customers
on average through its doors each week during the period.

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