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Morrison W.Sprmkts (MRW)

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Thursday 09 January, 2014

Morrison W.Sprmkts

Christmas Trading Update

RNS Number : 2320X
Morrison(Wm.)Supermarkets PLC
09 January 2014
 



News Release   

 

Release date: 9 January 2014

 

Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc provides a Christmas trading update and pre close statement

 

 

Resilient profit outlook despite fall in sales

 

Trading

 

The Christmas period has been very challenging with a slowdown in market growth. Hard pressed consumers elected to economise and managed their budgets very tightly, buying less and shopping selectively across a range of formats and retailers.  In the 6 weeks to 5 January 2014 total sales* excluding fuel were down by 1.9% (3.3% including fuel). Like- for-like sales* declined by 5.6% (7.1% including fuel).

 

The difficult market conditions were intensified for Morrisons by the accelerating importance of the online and convenience channels, where Morrisons is currently under-represented, and by targeted couponing which was particularly prevalent in the market this Christmas. Although the strength of our unique supply chain and the commitment of our colleagues enabled us to maintain high standards of service and strong availability throughout this peak period, our sales performance was not as strong as we had planned.

 

The rollout of convenience stores continues at pace with 85 now open and with a target of 200 by the end of 2014/15.  Our online food operation is ready to launch.

 

The Group's financial position remains strong and we expect full year net debt to be in line with previous guidance of £2.7bn.

 

Chief Executive Officer, Dalton Philips, said:

 

"In a very tough market our sales performance over Christmas was disappointing. However we are firmly focused on driving our core business and accelerating our penetration of the fast growing channels.  Our convenience business is building towards an operation of scale and the first food deliveries of Morrisons.com will be made tomorrow, reaching half of UK households by the end of the year."

 

Outlook

 

Whilst the sales environment continues to be very challenging, we have continued to manage our business very tightly.  The Board expects that our full year underlying profit performance will be towards the bottom of the range of current market expectations**.

 

 

*       exc. VAT and reported in accordance with IFRIC 13

**     Underlying profit:  range £783m - £853m, consensus £812m (source: company compiled data)

 

Enquiries:

 

Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc

                                   

Trevor Strain - Finance Director

0845 611 5000

Niall Addison - Investor Relations Director

07764 624701

 

Media Relations

 

Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc

Richard Taylor

0845 611 6912


Julian Bailey   

0845 611 5362

Citigate Dewe Rogerson:

Simon Rigby

020 7638 9571


Kevin Smith

020 7282 1054

 

 

There will be an analyst conference call at 10.00 a.m. today:

 

Analyst dial-in number:  +44 (0) 20 3003 2666

Password:4112668

 

Replay facility available for 7 days: +44 (0) 20 8196 1998

Replay access number: 4112668


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
 
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