Morrisons second quarter sales rise 3.1% to £3.7bn

Bradford-based supermarket giant Morrisons said its second quarter total sales excluding fuel rose 3.1% to £3.7 billion in the 13 weeks ending April 30, 2023.

Morrisons said group revenue fell 0.9% to £4.5 billion “reflecting lower fuel sales year on year.”

Group like-for-like (LFL) sales “ex-fuel/ex-VAT” were up 1%.

Morrisons said its wholesale channels are growing strongly with sales up 20%.

A further 107 Morrisons Daily convenience stores were added during the quarter, taking the total to almost 650.

Underlying EBITDA for Morrisons’ first half was down 10.7% to £394 million “reflecting sustained investment in price and continuing significant inflationary headwinds.”

Morrisons re-iterated guidance for EBITDA to be up at year end and for debt to be lower and reported “continued confidence in the £500m medium-term working capital improvements and £700m three-year cost reduction programme.”

US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice completed a £7 billion takeover of Morrisons last year.

Morrisons CEO David Potts 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. We also saw significant improvements in the key measures of customer satisfaction, availability and value for money.

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

“But our customers still wanted to celebrate important events and this quarter included Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Easter, Eid and the build up to the Coronation weekend.

“These events are an area of traditional strength for Morrisons, where we can leverage our unique food making and flower operations to help customers celebrate with good quality and great value.

“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.

“Convenience continues to be a strong area of focus and growth for the business. We now have almost 650 Morrisons Daily stores – around 400 of which are former McColl’s – and converted stores continue to see a significant sales uplift as we work through the McColl’s estate.

“By the year end we expect to have almost 1,000 Morrisons Daily stores trading and a significantly enhanced position in the important UK convenience sector.

“The launch of our new loyalty programme – now called the More Card – was an important moment for the business, bringing back the much-loved Morrisons Fivers in a points-based scheme, together with a rolling programme of eye-catching deals that are exclusive to More Card customers.

“The new scheme is a significantly more competitive and compelling loyalty programme and the early feedback from customers has been excellent with a substantial increase in active participants.

“At our food making sites, our stores and in our offices, those on the front line have once again played the leading role in the improving picture at Morrisons and I want to thank them for their continued great work and professionalism.

“We are making very good progress on both our £700 million three-year cost reduction programme and our plans to deliver £500 million of working capital improvements over the medium term. I am pleased to be confirming our guidance for full year underlying EBITDA to be up and for debt to be down.”