Morrisons (LON:MRW) beat tough retail industry conditions and analyst forecasts to deliver like-for-like non-fuel sales growth of 3.6% during the 13 weeks to 6th May. However, a major contributor to this improvement was a considerable strengthening of the group’s wholesale arm through a new programme supplying McColl’s outlets.
Transaction numbers in the retail operation grew by 0.7%, but this was partially balanced by a small decline in average basket values. While the report contained no information on profitability, Morrisons did say that inflation was broadly flat, which should be positive given the intense price competition through the sector in recent years. The company maintained its current forecasts for the 2018-19 financial year.
Shares in the company had climbed 3.4% to 252.80p at 14:30 BST.
Chief Executive David Cross said that: “We are pleased to have made a strong start to the year, again becoming more competitive for customers while delivering growth on growth. We expect to continue to improve in the year ahead”. Management also said that they were confident that the current strategy was delivering for staff and customers, a possible dig at the ASDA-Sainsbury’s deal currently under discussion.